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When I placed in Your Majesty s hands the second 
volume of this work, I had hoped to complete it in another 
volume. But, as I advanced in my task, I found this to be 
impossible. No one feels more forcibly than I do the truth 
of the old Greek saying, that a big book is a big evil, a 
truth even more important to be borne in mind now than in 
the times for which it was first spoken, when books were both 
compact and few. Still I am not without hope, that the 
contents of the following pages will justify my decision to 
deal in somewhat ample detail with the very interesting 
period to which they relate. 

The aim I have set to myself throughout in this Biography 
has been, not to present my own view of the Prince s charac 
ter, but to place upon record materials by which every careful 
and unprejudiced reader may judge of that character for 
himself. The mass of these materials which Your Majesty 
has placed at my command is very great. For example, the 
Prince s papers on the Oriental Question from 1853 to 
1 857 extend to no fewer than fifty folio volumes ; and, 
while they show the importance which he attached to that 

question, they contain so rich a profusion of materials of the 
highest value, that the embarrassment of selection has been 
not the least of the difficulties which I have had to encounter 
in the execution of my task. They furnish, moreover, a 
triumphant vindication of the Prince from the obloquy and 
misrepresentation which during- the same period he was com 
pelled to undergo in silence. I could not, therefore, reconcile 
it to ray duty as his biographer to withhold the evidence 
of the part, so valuable to Your Majesty, and therefore to 
England, which he played during the great struggle of the 
Crimean War. 

In doing this, I can scarcely hope to have escaped the risk 
of being charged with passing upon occasion from the sphere 
of the biographer into that of the historian. But, in truth, 
the Prince s life being, as it was, engrossed with the great 
events of a time which has already become historical, this 
was a risk which must perforce be run by his biographer, 
however much he might feel himself fettered by the proximity 
of the events, and by a proper regard for the feelings of such 
actors upon the political stage as may still survive, or of the 
representatives of those who have passed away. 

In any case, I trust it will be as clear to all who may 
read this volume, as it is to myself, that in all the Prince s 
dealings with men, and with the questions great and small, 
on which his unsleeping spirit was evermore employed, 
to be just, to be considerate, to look beyond the igno 
rant present into the seeds of time, to hold at bay 
the passions and prejudices, by which judgment is clouded, 
and action turned awry, was the condition of mind to which 
he never ceased to aspire. And surely it is not unimportant, 
at a time when the Eastern Question has again forced itself 
upon the consideration of Europe, that the opinions should be 
made known of one, to whom the welfare, not of Your Majesty s 
kingdom only, but of mankind, was so vitally dear, of one, 

whose political sagacity was leant upon, as this volume will 
show, by some of the greatest and most experienced states 
men of his age. 

I cannot conclude without again expressing my gratitude 
to Your Majesty for the unreserve with which the Prince s 
papers have been placed at my disposal, and for the absolute 
freedom with which I have been allowed to record within 
these pages my own impressions from the facts arid opinions 
of which they form a marvellous record. Remembering that 
truth and sincerity were the twin lodestars of the Prince s 
life, that it would therefore have been his wish to be spoken 
of simply as he was, I have striven to prove myself worthy 
of the confidence reposed in me in the only way that I am 
sure would be agreeable to Your Majesty, by using in all sin 
cerity the knowledge of his opinions and actions which it has 
been my privilege to obtain. The painter is no master of 
his craft, who will not place upon his canvas the flaws and 
blemishes that are as much a part of a face as its finest 
features. Had I found such in the subject of my picture, I 
should not have feared to find a place for them in it. My 
difficulty has been, that in all my researches I have come 
upon no such defect as would have furnished that relief of 
shadow, which would have made the portrait, if not more 
impressive in itself, yet more acceptable to many who are 
reluctant to believe in the highest order of human worth. 

I have the honour to be, 


Your Majesty s very devoted 
Subject and Servant, 



llth October, 1877. 





R faction in Public Mind in favour of the Prince War in the East in 
evitable Correspondence between the Emperor of the French and 
tlu- Emperor of Russia Intrigues at Vienna and Berlin Memo 
randum by Prince on State of Europe ...... 1 


18-34 continued. 

The Eastern Question State of Public Opinion in England as to .Russian 
Policy in the East Could War have been avoided ? English Govern 
ment wisely slow to declare it, when forced upon them Ultimatum 
sent to Russia by France and England- War declared Departure of 
Troops for Malta 


1 854 continued. 

Sailing of the Baltic Fleet Dinner to Admiral Sir Charles Napier 
Russian Influence at Court of Berlin- Letter by King of Prussia to 
Queen Victoria Her Majesty s Reply Publication of Sir Hamilton 
Seymour s Conversations with the Emperor Nicholas Their Effect 
upon Europe Russian Intrigues in Greece Suppression of Rising 
there by French and English Troops Reasons by Prince, in Letter 
I o the King of the Belgians, why England went to war . . . 



1854 continued. 

Day of Humiliation Letters by Queen as to Prayers to be used 
Prussia s policy of Pseudo-Neutrality condemned by the Prince His 
speech at Bicentenary Jubilee Festival of .Sons of the Clergy 
Launch of Royal Albert Multifarious occupations of the Prince 
His Speech at Trinity House Dinner Successful defence of Silistria 
by the Turks Austria occupies the Danubian Principalities Re 
markable Speech on the War by Lord Lyndhurst -Reply by Lord 
Aberdeen causes general Dissatisfaction Is explained by him Ex 
pedition to Sebastopol decided on Prince s Sketch of Plan for In 
vasion of the Crimea 


1854 continued. 

Emperor of the French invites the Prince to visit him at Boulogne 
"Want of Cohesion in the Cabinet Good Influence of Lord Aberdeen 
Prorogation of Parliament Correspondence between King of Prussia 
and the Prince The Prince visits the French Emperor and the Camps 
at Boulogne and St. Omer His Letters to the Queen . . <S7 


1854 continued. 

Memorandum by the Prince upon his Visit to the Emperor of the French 
and his Conversations with him Impression produced on the Em 
peror by the Prince Letter by M. Van de Weyer . . . I . S 


1854 con t in ucd. 

Court at Balmoral Battle of the Alma Cabinet Difficulties Disap 
pointment with Baltic Fleet Admiral Napier s Disputes with Sir 
James Graham Letters by Queen and Prince on the War- 
Strong feeling in England as to Conduct of Prussia Letters by the 
Prince to the Crown Prince of Prussia and to the King of the Bel 
giansBattle of Balaclava Prince writes to Lord Aberdeen as to 
how the Army is to be reinforced Lord Raglan calls for Reinforce 
ments ] - ( > 





Alarm created by Accounts of the Battle of Inkermann Queen s Letter 
to Lady Cathcart Letters from the Camp with Accounts of the 
Battle Wounded killed by Russians Remonstrances Negotiations 
with Austria The Four Points Memorandum by the Prince upon 
the Causes and Objects of the War with reference to the Four Points 
<reat Storm in the Crimea Prince s plans for Reinforcements 
Efforts for Relief of the Army before Sebastopol . . . .151 


1855 continued. 

Fine Spirit in the Army Patriotic Fund established Miss Florence 
Nightingale The Hospitals at Scutari Sufferings of Army Due to 
Defects of our Military System Suggestions by Prince for Weekly 
Reports from Army His Views of the Causes of the Break -down of 
the Military Arrangements He draws up Memorandum on Army 
Organisation, which is submitted to the Government . . .172 


1 855 continued. 

Unpopularity of the Aberdeen Ministry Meeting of Parliament Mr. 
Roebuck s Notice of Motion Lord John Russell resigns Mr. Roe 
buck s Motion carried Ministry resigns Protracted Ministerial 
Crisis Failure of Lord John Russell to form a Ministry Lord 
Palmerston entrusted with Formation of a Ministry Succeeds Mr. 
Roebuck s Committee of Inquiry Peelites leave Lord Palmerston s 
Cabinet ............ 193 


1855 continued. 

Improved State of Army before Sebastopol Mr. Roebuck s Committee 
Memorandum by Prince of Conversation with the Duke of Newcastle 
as to Extraordinary Suspicions entertained by Mr. Roebuck and others 
against the Prince Remedial Measures for the Army Lord John 
Russell goes as Plenipotentiary to Vienna Death of Emperor 
Nicholas Letter by the Queen on Hospitals for the Wounded 
/Emperor Napoleon resolves to goto the Crimea Consequent Dismay 
Lord Clarendon visits him at Boulogne Report of Conference 
there . . 214 



1 855 continued. 


Visit of the Emperor and Empress of the French to the Queen . . 2. W 


1 855 contin ued. 

Conference at Vienna Its Failure Compromising Assent to Austrian 
Proposals by Lord John Russell and M. Drouyn de Lhuys Prince 
defends Rejection of Austrian Proposals in Letter to the King of the 
Belgians Necessity of European Concert for Settlement of Eastern 
Question Memorandum by Prince on the Subject Russian Losses 
in Crimea Distribution of Medals by the Queen to Invalids from 
the Crimea L fiO 


1855 continued. 

General Canrobert is succeeded by General Pelissier Successful Expe 
dition of the Allied Forces to Kertch Its important Results Move 
ments of Peace Party in England Atfacks on Ministry Conferences 
at Vienna closed Action taken by Peelite Members of Lord Aber- 
deen s Cabinet Letter to Lord Aberdeen by the Prince Success of 
the Ministry in Parliament Remarkable Speech by the Prince at 
Trinity House Dinner How received 278 


1855 continued. 

Lord Raglan dies Queen s Letter to Lady Raglan In consequence of 
Explanations called for by Mr. Milner Gibson, Lord John Russell 
retires from Office Violent Discussions in Parliament War Policy 
strongly supported by the Country Bombardment of Sweaborg 
Battle of the Tschernaja Anticipations in Paris of Visit by Queen 
and Prince , 302 



1855 continued. 


Visit of the Queen and Prince to the Emperor of the French . . .318 


1855 continued. 

Letters by the Prince on the subject of the French Visit Court at 
Balmoral Arrival of News of Fall of Sebastopol -State of Allied 
Armies in the Crimea Letter on the Subject by the Duke of New 
castle from the Camp Letters by Prince Complaints that the Fall 
of Sebastopol has not been followed by Advance of the Allied Armies 
- -Betrothal of the Princess Eoyal and Prince Frederick William of 
Prussia Attack in The Times upon the Alliance .... 352 


1855 continued. 

Strong feeling in England in favour of continuing the War, not shared 
by France Sir W. Codrington appointed Commander-in-Chief Plan 
by Prince for future Command of the Army adopted by the Govern- 
v/ment Withdrawal of French Troops from the Crimea Letter by the 
Prince to Prince Frederick William Illness of the Queen s Half- 
Brother Prince s Address to Birmingham and Midland Institute 
Proposals for Peace suggested by Austria Correspondence on the 
Subject between the Emperor of the French and Queen Victoria . 377 


1855 continued. 

Visit of King of Sardinia to England Prince s Address to the German 
Legion at Shorncliffe Intrigues at Paris against the English Al 
liance Loyalty of the Emperor of the French The Austrian Con 
cordat with the Vatican The Guards Memorial to the Queen Attack 
upon the Prince for having signed it Letter by the Prince to King 
Leopold on the Position of England with reference to the War, and 
the Ultimatum proposed to be sent by Austria to Russia Excellent 
condition of English Army in the Crimea Austrian Ultimatum 
accepted by Russia Views of the Prince as to the Political Situation 403 





Letter by Queen to Lord Clarendon on his mother s death Peace Confer 
ences to be held in Paris Debates in Parliament on the Address 
Life-Peerages Ministerial Defeat Letter by Queen to Emperor of 
the French Lord Clarendon in Paris : Interviews with Emperor 
State of French opinion as to the War Baron Bmnnow and Count 
Orloff Prussia seeks to be admitted to Peace Conferences Prince 
writes to King Leopold on the Subject 480 


1856 continued. 

Appointment of Military Commission to sit at Chelsea Hospital Stormy 
Debate in House of Commons General Sir De Lacy Evans Russian 
Policy Idees Napoleoniennes Progress of Peace Negotiations Diffi 
culties Question as to future Disposal of the Danubian Principalities 
Birth of Prince Imperial Confirmation of Princess Royal Treaty 
of Peace concluded Correspondence between Queen and Lord 
Clarendon Letter by Queen to Emperor of the French . , . 452 


1 856 con tinned* 

Conferences of Lord Clarendon with Emperor of the French Reply by 
Emperor to Queen Victoria Order of the Garter conferred on Lord 
Palmerston Queen s Letter to him His Reply Condition of Allied 
Armies in the Crimea Queen and Prince visit Military Hospitals 
and Camp at Aldershot Great Naval Review at Spithead Letters 
by Prince to Baron Stockmar Prince on Army Peace Establishment 
Debates in Parliament on Treaty of Peace Return of Lord Dalhousie 
from India He is written to by the Queen Foundation Stone of 
Netley Hospital laid by the Queen Difficulty with America Acci 
dent to the Princess Royal Stockmar s Alarm .... 47<5 



1 856 continued. 


Keview at Aldershot Speech by the Queen Lord Hardinge taken ill 
during Interview with Queen and Prince Kesigns Letter to him by 
the Queen Visit of Prince and Princess of Prussia Court at Bal 
moral Miss Florence Nightingale there Correspondence of Prince 
with Baron Stockmar Difficulties with Eussia as to carrying out 
Terms of Peace -The Neuchatel Question Threatened War between 
Switzerland and Prussia France and England withdraw their Am- 
bassadors from Naples Court returns to Windsor Castle Death of 
Prince Lciniitgen, the Queen s half-brother United States present 
the Resolute to the Queen Discussion and final settlement of Bessa- 
rabian Frontier Correspondence between the Queen and Emperor 
of the French . 497 



OF THE QUEEN To face Title 





IT was well for the Prince s peace of mind, no less than for 
his reputation, that the calumnies of his detractors were 
pushed so far as to compel the public notice which was taken 
of them in Parliament, as mentioned in the preceding- 
chapter. What had occurred was only a fresh illustration of 
the old truth, that slander is only dangerous so long as it is 
confined to sinuous by-paths and vague innuendoes. Those 
who attacked the Prince, either from malice, or recklessness, 
or political animosity, must have been mortified to see that, 
meaning to injure, they had in fact done him signal good. 
His past services to the country, as the bosom-counsellor of 
the Sovereign, were made clear, and no challenge was thence 
forth likely to be put forward of his right to bring the daily 
growing treasures of his thought and experience to the aid of 
the Sovereign and her responsible advisers. Fortunately, 
as Lord Aberdeen wrote to the Prince (3rd February, 1854) 
the whole edifice of falsehood and misrepresentation is com 
pletely overthrown, and we may trust that a great reaction 
will now take place, in full proportion to the measure of 
calumny and injustice which has prevailed. They will always 


*V THE PRINCE. 1854 

remain, however, as a signal example of popular delusion, 
and, although we consider ourselves to be an enlightened 
people, I know no greater instance of stupid credulity than 
has been exhibited in the disgraceful proceedings of the last 
few weeks. 

No man bore calumny better than the Prince. He regarded 
it, we have seen, as inseparable from his position; and, 
happily, lie was able to say, with all the sincerity of one who, 
besides being modest by nature, was habitually stern in his 
j udgment of himself, Nothing has been brought against 
me which is not absolutely untrue (ante, vol. ii. 561). 
Nevertheless the pain occasioned to the Prince, and perhaps 
even more to the Queen, by these persistent and well-studied 
calumnies was very great. In proportion to the value they 
both set upon the good- will and esteem of the nation, was 
the grief expressed by the Queen, in a letter already quoted 
(ante, ii. 541), that any portion of her subjects should thus 
requite the unceasing labours of the Prince for the welfare 
and honour of England. There are few of us who can recall 
without a pang what we have suffered, to find ourselves 
misunderstood by those who, we have thought, must know us 
best suffered not in the moral shock only, but in the angry 
soreness of wounded affection. Then it was, that we have felt 
the full force of Coleridge s beautiful saying, That to be 
wroth with those we love doth work like madness in the 
brain. But if this be so, how much stronger must the feeling 
be, where the love that is wounded is no mere personal feeling, 
narrow at the best, but the yearning regard of the Sovereign 
for the people whom she loves, the people, on the fulness of 
whose trust she can alone rely to take the sting from the 
misrepresentations to which a monarch will always be ex 
posed, but which, by the necessity of her position, she must 
bear in silence. The shafts aimed at the Prince, the Queen 
could not but feel were aimed at herself* But the sense of 

1 854 REACTION. 3 

personal injury was swallowed up in indignation at the wrong 
done to one whom she knew, as no one else could know, to be 
the very soul of goodness and truth, of honour, and of 
devotion to the kingdom, over which she was strengthened 
to reign by his wise and loving help. What wonder, then, if 
she, who had felt the wrong so deeply, was no less deeply 
moved by the desire now everywhere shown to obliterate the 
painful impressions of the last few weeks by a general 
acknowledgment of the Prince s position, and of the pru 
dence and sagacity with which he had used it. That black 
time, Her Majesty writes to Baron Stockmar (15th April, 
1 854), when foul calumny strove to blind our deluded people, 
vanished from the hour Parliament spoke of it ; and this 
serves to show how it was got up, and how little it had taken 
root ! 

Had it been otherwise, the strain upon both the Queen 
and Prince would have been intolerable. They now saw 
close before them the prospect of a great war, which, what 
ever its issue or duration, must put to proof the utmost 
resources of the country, and all the energy ai\d endurance 
of its people. The thought of this struggle and all that it 
involved a thought that day and night was weighing on 
their hearts would have been too hard to bear, had any 
shadow been left of the distrust which had been attempted 
to be sown between the people and themselves. Instead of 
this, however, the spirit of mutual reliance which had grown 
up between the Crown and the nation during the present 
reign, so far from being shaken by the attacks on the Prince, 
had been strengthened by the frank explanations for which 
they had given occasion. Each knew the other better than 
before, and with this knowledge in their hearts could confront 
with a calmer courage the difficulties and dangers of the 
impending struggle. 

In a supreme degree, too, the Queen and Prince were able 

B 2 


to find strength in the love which is the best restorative for 
the weariness and the heartache of all mortal life. Trials 
we must have ; but what are they if we are together ! On 
the same day, the anniversary of her marriage, on which, as 
we have seen (ante, vol. ii. 565) the Queen s heart over 
flowed in these simple words simple, yet how eloquent ! 
their children had prepared for them one of those graceful 
surprises, with which their affection never failed to mark its 
periodical recurrence. The Baron and Baroness Bunsen were 
among the guests at Windsor upon the occasion, and to this 
happy accident we owe the following graceful report by the 
Baroness of the Masque which the Royal children had 
devised for the occasion : 

1 We followed the Queen and Prince Albert a long way, 
through one large room after another, till we came to one, 
where hung a red curtain, which was presently drawn aside, for 
a representation of the Four Seasons, studied and contrived by 
the Royal children as a surprise to the Queen, in celebration of 
the day. First appeared Princess Alice as the Spring, scatter, 
ing flowers, and reciting verses, which were taken from 
Thomson s Seasons ; she moved gracefully and spoke in a 
distinct and pleasing manner with excellent modulation, and a 
tone of voice sweet and penetrating like that of the Queen. 
Then the curtain was drawn, and the scene changed, and the 
Princess Royal represented Summer, with Prince Arthur 
stretched upon the sheaves, as if tired with the heat and harvest- 
work ; another change, and Prince Alfred, with a crown of vine 
leaves and the skin of a panther, represented Autumn looking 
very well. Then followed a change to a winter landscape, and 
the Prince of Wales represented Winter, with a cloak covered 
with icicles (or what seemed such), and the Princess Louise, a 
charming little muffled-up figure, busy keeping up a fire ; the 
Prince reciting (as all had done) passages more or less modified 
from Thomson. Then followed the last change, when all the 
Seasons were grouped together, and far behind, on a height, 
appeared Princess Helena, with a long white veil hanging on 
both sides down to her feet, holding a long cross, and pronounc- 


ing a blessing upon the Queen and Prince. . These verses were 
composed for the occasion. I understood them to say, that Saint 
Helena, remembering her own British extraction, came to pro 
nounce a benediction upon the rulers of the country ; and I 
think it must have been so intended, because Helena, the mother 
of Constantino (said to have discovered the remains of the Cross 
which bore the Saviour), was a native of Britain, and she is 
always represented leaning upon a large cross. But your father 
understood that Britannia was intended as blessing the Royal 
pair. In either view of the subject, the Princess Helena looked 
very charming. This was the close ; but, by command of the 
Queen, the curtain was again withdrawn, and we saw the whole 
Royal Family together, who came down severally from their 
raised platform ; also the baby, Prince Leopold, was carried in by 
his nurse, and looked at us all with big eyes, stretching out his 
arms to be taken by the Prince Consort. (BunserCs Life, ii. 

Although the Queen s Speech in opening Parliament (30th 
January) had spoken of the persistent efforts being still 
continued, which Her Majesty hud made, in conjunction with 
her allies, to preserve and restore peace between Russia and 
Turkey, these words inspired little confidence even in the 
minds of those who clung to the hope that war might still 
be averted, coupled as they were with the intimation in the 
same sentence, that she had thought it requisite to make a 
further augmentation of her naval and military forces, with 
the view of supporting her representations, and of more 
effectually contributing to the restoration of peace. Diplo 
macy indeed might still be busy. Russia, on the one hand, 
might not yet have despaired of detaching France from the 
English alliance, and of inducing Austria and Prussia to with 
draw the pressure which, in concert with the Western Powers, 
they had hitherto been exerting to induce the Emperor 
Nicholas to recall Lis troops from the Principalities. 
England, on the other hand, had yet to assure herself that 
France had one common object with herself in embarking on 


the defence of Turkey, and might be relied on to bear her 
full share of the burden of this defence, till that object was 
attained. But from the moment that the combined fleets of 
France and England entered the Black Sea, with the avowed 
purpose of shutting up the Russian fleet in Sebastopol, the 
hope of a peaceful adjustment of the disputes between Russia 
and Turkey was at an end. Our Ambassador at St. Petersburg 
might indeed represent that our ships had been sent there 
for the protection of the Turkish territory and the Turkish 
flag only. But was it to be thought that a power like Russia, 
which had been accustomed to strike, where she could and 
when she could, against all who ventured to resist her im 
perious dictates, would admit the distinction between the 
defiant defence of an adversary with whom she was at war, 
and actual warfare against herself? l 

Up to this time, however, and indeed for some time 
afterwards, a war with Russia was far from popular in France, 2 
Of this fact the Emperor of the French was necessarily well 
aware, and he may be presumed to have been much influenced 
by it in the final attempt which he made at the end of 
January to persuade the Czar to withdraw from the false 
position in which he had placed himself by his occupation of 
the Principalities. In an autograph letter (29th January) 
he laid before the Czar his view of the state of the question 
in terms which, little likely as they were to be acceptable at 
St. Petersburg, could not be regarded as otherwise than mode 
rate. If the two Maritime Powers, he urged, had sent their 
squadrons to the Bosphorus, it was because Turkey, threatened 

1 It was accordingly denounced in a letter by Count Nesselrode to Baron 
Brunnow (16th January) as an act of flagrant hostility. As for ourselves, 
he added, it is impossible for us to look upon such a resolution in any other 
light than as a violence offered to our belligerent rights. 

2 Writing to Sir James Graham from Paris (24th January, 18.54), Sir John 
Burgoyne says : I was much surprised to hear that a war with Russia on the 
present question was very unpopular in France. This must be very embarrass 
ing to the Emperor. 


in her independence, her provinces seized as a material 
guarantee for the fulfilment of a treaty which she had not 
broken, had claimed a support to which, by the justice of her 
cause, as affirmed by the combined voice of Austria, Prussia, 
England, and France, she was entitled. Up to the day when 
the Turkish fleet, riding quietly at anchor in a Turkish port, 
had been destroyed, in spite of the assurance that there was 
no wish to commence an aggressive war, and in spite of the 
vicinity of our squadrons, the Western Powers had main 
tained a passive attitude. After that event, the letter 
continued, it was no longer our policy which received a 
check, it was our military honour. . . . The sound of the 
cannon-shot at Sinope reverberated painfully in the hearts of 
all those who in England and in France respect national 
dignity. All shared in the sentiment that, wherever our 
cannon can reach, our allies ought to be respected. Out of 
this feeling arose the order given to our squadrons to enter 
the Black Sea and to prevent, by force if necessary, the 
recurrence of a similar event. But a bitterer sting was 
delivered in the words that followed, which reminded the 
Czar that his new policy of material guarantees could be 
effectively turned against himself. In prohibiting the navi 
gation of the Russian fleet upon the Black Sea, he was told, 
the Maritime Powers had acted upon the conviction, that it 
was important during the war to preserve a guarantee 
equivalent in force to the occupation of the Turkish terri 
tory, and thus facilitate the conclusion of peace by having 
the power of making a desirable exchange, 

After this preface the Emperor of the French must have 
been singularly credulous if, as he goes on to say, he felt 
assured the Czar would take a pacific course in the alterna 
tive presented to his choice of either a definitive under 
standing with the Western Powers or a decided rupture. 
However this may be, it is professedly under this conviction 


that he proposed, that the combined fleets should leave 
the Black Sea, the Eussians at the same time evacuating 
the Principalities, and that Turkish and Eussian pleni 
potentiaries should negotiate a Convention, which should 
then be submitted to the Conference of the Four Powers in 

When this letter was submitted to our Government for 
approval, Lord Clarendon, although he could scarcely approve 
of the suggestion that Eussia and Turkey alone should at 
this stage negotiate a Convention, felt it the less necessary to 
raise any objection, because he foresaw very clearly that 
nothing could possibly come of such an appeal. The infor 
mation which had reached him from our Ambassador at St. 
Petersburg, as to the state of public feeling there, made it 
obvious that, even if the Czar had been disposed to make 
concessions, the angry passions which he had evoked in his 
subjects would not have permitted him to recede. Writing to 
Lord Clarendon on the 2nd of January, Sir Hamilton Seymour 
said of Count Nesselrode : 

He exerts himself in the cause of moderation, and except 
him, and in a less degree Count Orloff and Count Kisseleff, I 
should be perplexed to name any Eussian, whose voice is raised 
in the same sense. It is to this very circumstance, that is to be 
ascribed the remarkable unpopularity which now attaches to 
Count Nesselrode, and the intrigues which are set on foot 
against him. ... I hold it to be certain that, if peace still 
exists, it is in a great measure attributable to the Chancellor, and 
that the Emperor is infinitely more moderate than the immense 
bulk of his subjects. This fact does not exculpate His Majesty 
from having lent himself to plans which have led to this state of 
things. I long since stated to your Lordship, that a spirit would 
be evoked by the Eussian policy, which it would be found very 
difficult to lay ; but now that the spirit has come forth, so far 
from the Emperor being amongst those most eager to obey its 
mandates, it is already very apparent, that his popularity is shaken 
by the resistance which he opposes to public opinion, while, as for 


the Chancellor, he is openly spoken of as an alien, a traitor, a 
man bought by English gold. The feeling to which I allude is 
especially acted upon by the rumours which are in circulation of 
the entrance of the Allied fleets into the Black Sea, and a person 
of my acquaintance, who lives almost entirely in Russian society, 
acquaints me, that the language which he now hears around him 
is, that Russia will be humiliated, and that the Emperor will show 
that he has lost all sense of dignity, if he defers marking his re 
sentment by sending off the French and English Ministers, and 
by declaring war upon their two countries. 

Surrounded by the feeling here described, chafed by the 
successful resistance to his troops which the Turks had been 
able hitherto to maintain, and stung to the quick by being 
told, as he had been for the first time by the French Emperor s 
letter, that the Western Powers had determined to prohibit 
to the Russians the navigation of the Black Sea, the Czar s 
reply could be of only one tenor. In it every step he bad taken 
was justified. France and England were taunted with weak 
ness in allowing the Porte to modify the Vienna Note after 
it had been approved by themselves and accepted by Russia, 3 
and a return to the Russian programme in other words, the 
adoption of the construction put by the Czar upon the Treaty 
of Kainardji as to the Protectorate of the Greek Christians in 
Turkey was announced as forming the only opening for 
friendly discussion and a possible good understanding. What 
ever, the letter continued, your Majesty may decide, menaces 
will not induce me to recede. My confidence is in God and 
in my right, and Russia, as I can guarantee, will prove her- 

3 After war had been declared by the Western Powers, this argument was 
again addressed in an official declaration published in the Journal de St.- 
Petcrsbourg (13th of April). The official answer in the Moniteur on this head 
was conclusive. In the Vienna Note, it bore, the Powers had laid down prin 
ciples which, loyally admitted, might then have solved the difference ; but the 
commentary which that Note received from the Count de Nesselrode attested 
that the Russian Cabinet did not accept them, except by attaching to them <i 
signification very different from the idea of the Conference of Vienna, as was 
admitted by all the Governments represented in that Conference. 


self in 1854 what she was in 181 2. 4 . . . Let your fleet limit 
itself to prevent the Turks from sending additional forces to 
the theatre of war. I willingly promise that they shall have 
nothing to fear from my attempts. Let them send a nego 
tiator. I will receive him in a suitable manner. My condi 
tions are known in Vienna. That is the only basis on which 
I can allow discussion. 

My conditions are known in Vienna. Before this letter 
reached its destination they were known in Paris also, and 
in London, and known moreover to be utterly inadmissible. 
Charged with these conditions, Count Orloff arrived in the 
Austrian capital on the 28th of January ; and after a few days 
of mysterious reserve, spent in trying to ascertain the probable 
attitude of Austria in the event of war, he submitted them to 
the Conference. The Protocol of the 13th of January, em 
bodying the views of the Conference as to the conditions on 
which peace should be restored between Russia and Turkey, 
was rejected, and a new set of conditions was proposed as the 
basis for negotiation. The conditions were substantially 
these : the confirmation of all existing treaties and conven 
tions between Russia and the Porte, with a specific recogni 
tion in the sense contended for by Russia of her Protectorate 
of the Greek Christians, which was the origin of the quarrel, 
and an engagement by Turkey not to furnish an asylum for 
political refugees. These were, in fact, a considerable 
increase upon the first obnoxious demands by Prince 
Menschikoff (see ante, vol. ii. p. 510), and on the 2nd of 
February they were declared by the representatives of the 
Four Powers to be inadmissible, and such as ought not to be 
submitted to the Porte. 

4 Had the Emperor of Kussia wished to turn the tide of feeling in France 
against himself, he could scarcely have chosen any means more likely to effect 
this oLject than this allusion to the events of 1812. As was soon apparent, 
it changed the apathy to the Eastern Question which had hitherto prevailed in 
France into eager interest. 


A further disappointment awaited the Czar in the failure 
of Count Orloff to secure a promise of strict neutrality on 
the part of Austria in the event of a war. Pressed by the 
young Emperor to say if he was prepared to pledge his 
master not to cross the Danube, to seek no acquisition of 
territory, and to evacuate the Principalities when the war 
was over, Count Orloff replied that the Czar would come 
under no such engagement. Then must Austria, was the 
Emperor s rejoinder, be equally free to act as her interests 
and dignity might direct. Meanwhile, she would continue 
to be guided by the principles which she had adopted in 
concert with the other three Grreat Powers. 5 

While these things were passing at Vienna, Baron de 
Budberg, who had been engaged on behalf of Eussia in a 
similar attempt at the Court of Berlin, had met with no 
better success. The King, although from various causes 
timidly obsequious to his brother-in-law the Czar, and much 
under the influence of a Eussian party, which was then 
predominant at the Prussian Court, was kept in check 
although only for the moment by the firmness of his Minister, 
Baron Manteuffel, and refused to commit himself to any course 
of action inconsistent with the principles assented to by his 
representative at the Vienna Conference. But while he con 
curred in the fresh Protocol of the 2nd of February, which 
denned the views of the Four Powers as to the basis for a 
peaceful settlement of the differences between Eussia and 
Turkey, he hung back resolutely from any pledge of active 
interference to enforce the decision at which the Conference 
had arrived. As Lord Bloomfield. our Ambassador at Berlin, 

5 The haughty language of Count Orloff, and the air of tutelage towards 
Austria, which was implied in the tender of guarantees by his master against 
whatever consequences might result to Austria from adopting the line of strict 
neutrality, contributed to the failure of his mission. Austria lost no time in 
asserting her independence, by supporting, through her Minister at St. Peters 
burg, the Ultimatum which was soon afterwards addressed to the Emperor of 
Russia by France and England. 


wrote to Lord Clarendon (28th February), It is impossible 
to make these people understand the duties and responsi 
bilities of a Great Power, and their chief thought in this 
question appears to be the chance of playing a great card 
hereafter in Germany, when the war shall have lasted a few 

Such was the state of affairs when the Prince, in accord 
ance with his practice, reduced to writing his survey of the 
political position, and his estimate of its probable develop 
ment, in the following Memorandum : 

8th March, 185i. 

The attitude of Austria and Prussia in regard to the 
Eastern Question is naturally of the utmost importance in 
its bearing upon the course of the events to which this 
question is certain to give rise. That stage of the question 
is passed in which a peaceful solution was still conceivable. 
The Emperor has himself cut off the possibility of drawing 
back, and is bent upon war. This being so, every proposal 
for further negotiations can only be regarded by the Maritime 
Powers as having for their object to deprive them of the 
very special advantage which they will enjoy from the out 
break of hostilities before the ice begins to break up. Such 
negotiations will therefore be desired by Kussia, while they 
will not be tolerated by the Allied Powers, being, as they are, 
adverse to their interests. The main point is to bring the 
war that is now inevitable to a close with all possible de 
spatch. This can only be done if the European Powers stick 
firmly together. Their doing so will give at the same time 
the surest guarantee that the question for which the war is 
undertaken shall not degenerate into others which are 
fundamentally alien to it. 

6 Whether the Turkish Empire as such will be able to 
maintain its existence or not is not the question; and it 


would be useless to seek to determine this problem by 
anticipation. But it is quite certain that, if Europe main 
tains a united front against Russia, the solution must be in 
accordance with European interests, because it makes the 
realisation of the schemes of Russia impossible. On the 
other hand, it is said, " A war against Russia is foolish, for 
she cannot be conquered ! " Russia, no doubt, is not a 
country to be conquered in the sense in which Napoleon in 
1812 imagined it might be; but it is not therefore in 
vincible, as people there and in Germany say it is. For the 
vital force of a State does not rest in an unshattered army 
and in the maintenance of a wide expanse of territory, but 
in the stability and abundance of its material resources, and 
in its political homogeneousness and commanding position. 
Both may in the case of Russia be brought into extreme peril. 
By the loss of her western frontier territory she might 
even be reduced to a purely Sclavo- Asiatic State, which 
wo aid cease to play an important part in the Councils of 

4 If this be the general posture of affairs, what is the 
position which Austria and Prussia at this moment occupy 
in regard to them ? To Austria, Turkey is an object of 
paramount interest, inasmuch as it is of moment to her to 
shake herself free of Russia, to which she has hitherto been 
bound by her dread of revolution. She fears Russia, she 
fears revolution. As regards the latter, she could not pos 
sibly desire a stronger protection than that which is offered 
to her by the alliance with the liberal Western Powers, 
whose separation from the cause of revolution she insures by 
this alliance. This is very clearly perceived even by the 
Revolutionary Committee, Mazzini, Kossuth, &c. Austria, 
while she does not trust Prussia, at the same time regards 
herself as not strong enough without Prussia, but still she 
is quite alive to the bearing of her own proper policy. 


Prussia unhappy country! The King is the tool of 
Kussian dictation, partly from fear of Russia, partly from an 
absurdly sentimental feeling for the Emperor as the repre 
sentative of the Holy Alliance. He believes himself to have 
shown great and dignified independence in declining a 
Russian alliance, that could have only the one object of 
drawing Prussia into conflict with the Western Powers in 
support of a Russian policy, which Prussia had joined with 
the three Powers in declaring, by Protocol, to be injurious 
and dangerous to herself and to Europe ! Anyhow the King 
declines all co-operation with the West. 

6 The Court-party, from habit partly, and partly from 
self-interest, is servile to Russia, worships the Emperor as the 
champion of reaction, sees its own downfall in whatever 
weakens him, and so it besieges the King with insinuations 
against France and England, with apprehensions of Russian 
vengeance, and hypocritical cant about Christian duty in the 

The Anti-Russian patriotic party is no doubt anxious for 
war against Russia, provided it be waged by the Western 
Powers and Austria, but it has no wish that Prussia herself 
shall participate in the danger. Prussia is to profit by the 
opportunity the war will give her of stepping in as Umpire, 
by which she fancies she may give the turn to the European 
balance at some decisive moment, and snatch for herself the 
reward, which she will think she has deserved. 

( This is a flagitious policy, and assuredly it was not very 
wise to have given it expression, as has been already done. 
This is the policy of 1805, which led to the disasters of 1806. 
As its natural consequence Prussia will be hated by all 
parties, and as her tortuous views are already proclaimed in 
every State in Europe, the feeling is sure to have been 
roused, that it will be well to be beforehand with her. If 
when a peace is arrived at, to which Prussia has in no way 


contributed, but in the way of which she has on the contrary 
acted as a stumbling-block, she should then set up claims, 
she will be astounded at the manner in which they will be 

6 That every good German desires the consolidation, per 
haps the aggrandisement, of Prussia, is intelligible; but 
physical expansion is, and ought to be, the result of moral 
strength and struggle, and people ought to see that the 
war with Kussia would offer many chances to attain the 
desired object in a way which Europe would regard as con 
sonant with her own interests, and those of civilisation. On 
the other hand, the policy of seeking to embarrass Europe 
now, in order to tish in troubled waters later on, cannot fail 
to produce the opposite effect. 

4 That Prussia should not permit herself to be used blindly 
by the Western Powers as a mere tool, is only as it should 
be. But it is wholly and solely the fault of her Govern 
ment, if she does not obtain from Austria and the Western 
Powers treaties and guarantees, which would smooth the 
way to an alliance, such as could not fail to operate to her 
legitimate advantage. 


THE advisers of the Emperor Nicholas and such advisers, it 
has been confidently stated, there were who told him that the 
fighting days of England were over, and that her sons cared 
too much for money and their own ease to risk either in an 
European quarrel, must by this time have been dismayed to 
see how greatly they had been mistaken. A forty-years 
peace had not changed the character of the people. They 
were far too confident, indeed, in their own strength to be 
prone to take offence ; but touched on a point of honour, 
or menaced with an encroachment on their possessions or 
their rights, they were as ready as of yore to confront the 
hazards of war at any sacrifice of blood and treasure. 

The part which Russia had played in helping the despotic 
Sovereigns to crush the recent struggles of their subjects for 
constitutional freedom had predisposed the British people 
to look with extreme distrust on any aggressive advance 
which she might make in the East of Europe. They were, 
moreover, impatient at the idea of the world being held in 
awe by a gigantic power, which they had seen imposing its 
will upon countries of a higher civilisation than its own, and 
which they believed to be the great barrier to the advance 
ment of free opinion and of human progress. Little as 
Englishmen loved the Turks, and deeply as they detested 
the oppression which the Porte practised towards its subjects, 
both Mussulman and Christian, they remembered too well 
what Russia had done and was doing elsewhere, to hear with- 


out impatience of her being put forward as the champion of 
humanity arid of Christian independence. 

In those days the great body of Englishmen had not ceased 
to believe that Russia had designs upon Constantinople ; 
and to these designs they would not suffer themselves to be 
blinded by mere protestations that the policy of Peter the 
Great and Catherine was not the policy of their successors, 
or that the long-cherished ambition of the nation, as it was 
designated by Lord John Russell, would be surrendered even 
at the bidding of its ruler. l 

Common men might not be able to estimate all the dangers 
to Europe which lurked in any disturbance of its territorial 
divisions, but there were few who could not appreciate how im 
portant it was to England, that the entrance to the Black Sea 
should continue in the hands of a neutral and friendly Power, 
and that it should not pass into the possession of one by 
whom it might be used with formidable effect for the purposes 
of a boundless and unscrupulous ambition. Even Austria and 
Prussia, subservient as they were known to be to Russian 
influence, had concurred with the Western Powers in declar 
ing that the maintenance of the state of possession in the 
East was necessary for the tranquillity of all the other Powers, 
and that the existence of Turkey within the limits assigned 
to her by treaty was one of the necessary conditions of 
the balance of power in Europe ; 2 but, notwithstanding this 
clear expression of the views of united Europe, Russia con 
tinued to maintain a position that was wholly incompatible 
with them. The Emperor Nicholas might disclaim, as he 

1 In his Despatch of 9th February, 1853, to Sir Hamilton Seymour Eastern 
Papers, Part, V. p. 7- It will bo seen from Sir Hamilton Seymour s report 
of his interview with the Emperor Nicholas, in which this Despatch was read 
and discussed, that the Emperor was compelled to admit the aptness of Lord 
John Russell s words (Ibid. p. 11.) 

2 Protocol of a Conference of the Representatives of the Four Powers held at 
Vienna, 5th December, 1853. 



did, any intention to assail the integrity of the Ottoman 
Empire ; but who could credit this assurance when in the 
same breath he declared that his armies, which had invaded 
Turkish territory, were there, and would remain there, to 
extort concessions which would transfer from the Sultan to 
himself the allegiance of twelve millions of Turkish subjects, 
and place at his mercy the future independence of the 
Ottoman Empire ? The peace of Europe had been lawlessly 
broken ; an immense army set in motion, which, whatever 
pretext might be put forward, could only have conquest for 
its object. But if Turkey were struck down now, who could 
foretell what part of Europe might next be singled out for 
assault ? Too long had the Russian autocrat been accustomed 
to bestride the narrow world like a Colossus, and throughout 
England an all but universal feeling had grown up, that 
the time had come, in our own immediate interests, no less 
than for the sake of the future welfare of the world, to let it 
be seen, that we at least were not content to 

Walk tinder his huge legs, and peep abont 
To find ourselves dishonourable graves, 

but were determined to resist the further usurpations of an 
imperious will, and to vindicate the cause of right against 
might, although in doing so we had to fight for a dynasty, 
which we knew to be corrupt, and all but despaired of seeing 

So prevalent was this feeling, that the remonstrances of 
Mr. Cobden and Mr. Bright, who represented the small Peace 
party in this country, were listened to with impatience, not 
unmixed with indignation. Turkey, said Mr. Cobden, 
speaking at Manchester in January, is a decaying country, 
and the Turks cannot be permanently maintained as a ruling 
power in Europe. So far he commanded a general assent ; 
but when he went on to contemplate with complacency the 


possession of Constantinople by the Russians, he cut himself 
adrift from the sympathies of the mass of his fellow-country 
men. If Russia, he continued, obtained Constantinople, 
she must cease to be barbarous before she could become 
formidable ; and if she made a great navy, it must be by 
doing as the Venetians, the Dutch, the English, and the 
Americans did, by the accumulation of wealth, the exercise 
of industry, and the superior skill and intelligence of her 
artisans. Mr. Bright at the same meeting adopted a similar 
line of argument. ( Turkey is a decaying nation, Russia an 
advancing one ; Russia, though a despotism now, will not be 
a despotism always. We had a despotism once, and it gave us 
trouble to get rid of it. Russia is in its natural progress 
from a bad to a better state. If we had not interfered, the 
difference between Russia and Turkey would have been 
settled long before this settled by the concessions of 

No eloquence could, however, disguise the hollowness of ar 
guments like these. If, indeed, Turkey were destined to fall, 
must she of necessity fall into the hands of a nation admit 
tedly barbarous exchange her own despotism for a despotism 
more absolute and relentless? Was the Turkish nation to 
have no voice to say by whom it should be governed ? Must it- 
submit itself to the Russians, whom it avowedly held in 
abhorrence ? And during the period how long who could 
say ? when Russia was raising herself from admitted bar 
barism to a merely possible civilisation, what might not be 
the miseries of the conquered Turks, what the turmoil into 
which Europe might be thrown by barbarians, whose means 
of aggression had been infinitely augmented by the posses 
sion of some of its fairest and most fertile provinces ? With 
Russia at Constantinople would the balance of Europe be 
any longer the same ? Above all, would England s position 
be the same, or could that position be maintained except at 

c 2 


the cost of vastly augmented armaments both by land and sea ? 
Concessions by Turkey ? Had Europe no interest in these 
concessions ? Was it of no moment to her, that Turkey should 
be asked to concede terms fatal to her very existence as a 
nation, and which would have altered the political situation 
of the civilised world ? If Turkey, weak, decrepid, dying, as 
she was said to be, 3 refused to be coerced, was it not the duty 
of England, and of every European Power, to uphold her in 
the struggle for independence? With such obvious consi 
derations present to all men s minds, the great leaders of the 
Manchester School found their influence shaken, even among 
those who had long been accustomed to accept their guidance 
with implicit faith. 

A letter of the Prince s to King Leopold depicts so 
forcibly what was thought and felt by England in entering 
upon the defence of Turkey, that, although written (20th 
July) some months after the time with which we are now 
dealing, some passages of it will not be out of place here : - 

We supported Russia, he writes, in her demands at Con 
stantinople, until it became clear, that she was bent on 
annihilating the independence of the Porte. It was not 
from mere selfishness, and with a view to making cat s-paws 
of other Powers, but in order to avert the possibility of war, 
that England pressed for the concert Europeen. Austria s 
and Prussia s faint-heartedness arid regard for the Russians 
made our efforts in this direction fruitless. Thereupon 
England and France alone took upon themselves the burden 
of protecting the Porte. It is quite true, that our stupid 
club-house politicians and journalists underrated Russia s 
strength. But every statesman knew how heavy was the 
task we had undertaken. A Military European concert 

3 So far back as 1844 the Emperor Nicholas Ind said, 77 y a dans man 
Cabinet deux opinions sur la Turqule : Vune, qiielle est mourante ; Tautre qu elle 
tst morte la derniere est la mienne 1 (See Bunseris Life, vol. ii. p. 327.) 

1 854 TO KING LEOPOLD. 21 

might even now bring the war to a speedy close, restore 
peace, and put the Porte under proper conditions. But if 
England and France have to carry on the war single-handed 
with Russia, it must become a war of extermination ; just as, 
if twenty men have to arrest a criminal, it is a simple affair 
to seize and bind him and carry him off to prison ; whereas if 
one man has to do it, he does so at the risk of a struggle for 
life and death. All Europe, Belgium and Germany included, 
have the greatest interest in the integrity and independence 
of the Porte being secured for the future, but a still greater, 
in Russia being defeated and chastised. For it is to weak 
States above all others of importance as a precedent, that, if a 
strong neighbour seeks to oppress them, all Europe should 
come to their aid, and repel the oppressor. This is the true 
state of the case, and the politicians of the Continent should 
not be misled by their soreness of feeling at the rough and 
unmeasured terms in which it has been expressed by the 
English journals. To be plain-spoken, perhaps not over 
scrupulous, is their vocation. 

4 Another mistake which people abroad make, is to ascribe 
to England a policy based upon material interests and cold 
calculation. Her policy is one of pure feeling, and therefore 
often illogical. The government is a popular government, 
and the masses upon whom it rests only feel, and do not 
think. In the present instance their feeling is something of 
this sort : 4 " The Emperor of Russia is a tyrant, the enemy 
of all liberty on the Continent, the oppressor of Poland. He 
wanted to coerce the poor Turk. The Turk is a fine fellow ; 
he has braved the rascal, let us rush to his assistance. The 
Emperor is no gentleman, as he has spoken a lie to our 
Queen. Down with the Emperor of Russia ! Napoleon for 
ever ! He is the nephew of his uncle, whom we defeated at 

Down to this point the letter is in German. The dramatic and humorous 
instinct of the Prince then carries him into our terse British vernacular. 


Waterloo. We were afraid of his invading us ? Quite the 
contrary ! He has forgotten all that is past, and is ready to 
fight with us for the glorious cause against the oppressor of 
liberty. He may have played the French some tricks, but 
they are an unruly set and don t deserve any better. D - 
all the German Princes who won t go with us against the 
Russian, because they think they want him to keep down 
their own people. The worst of them is the King of Prussia, 
who ought to know better." 

Loud, however, as was the general voice for war, the 
Ministry were met by the Opposition with the reproach, that, 
if they had made it clear from the first that they would 
regard as a casus belli any invasion by Russia of the Turkish 
provinces, that step would never have been taken. On the 
first night of the Session this view was urged with great vigour 
by Lord Derb} , who charged them with having misled the 
Emperor Nicholas into the belief that England would under 
no circumstances oppose with arms any encroachments by 
Russia upon Turkish territory. Russia, lie maintained, had 
always recoiled from aggression when she was boldly met, 
and she would have done so now, had she been frankly told, 
that in any such aggression it was not only Turkey she 
would have to encounter, but the combined forces of England 
and of France also. Appealing in support of this view to the 
past history of Russian policy, he said :- 

For the last 150 years it has been a policy of gradual aggres 
sion not a policy of conquest, but of aggression. It has never 
proceeded by storm, but by sap and mine. The first process has 
been invariably that of fomenting discontent and dissatisfaction 
amongst the subjects of subordinate States then proffering 
mediation then offering assistance to the weaker party then 
declaring the independence of that party then placing that inde 
pendence under the protection of Russia ; and, finally, from 
protection proceeding to the incorporation, one by one, of those 
States into the gigantic body of the Russian Empire. I say 


nothing of Poland, or of Livonia, but I speak of Mingrelia, 
Imeritia, and the countries of the Caspian, even as far as the 
boundary of the Araxes ; and, again, the Crimea itself. This 
has been the one course which Russia has invariably pursued ; 
but although she has pursued this steady course for 150 years, 
8he has from time to time desisted from her schemes where she 
has found they met with opposition, and has never carried any 
one of those schemes into effect where she has been certain to 
meet the opposition of this country. 

But the argument failed, unless it could be shown that 
the Emperor Nicholas continued to regard the opposition 
of this country with the same apprehension as he and his 
predecessors had formerly done. But who could answer for 
this? When, at any former period, had a moment presented 
itself so favourable for the accomplishment of the hereditary 
policy of Eussia ? The Turkey, which he had regarded as 
dead in 1844, no doubt still showed a provoking tenacity of 
life, but so little able was the Czar to conceal his impatience 
at this perversity, that writing from St. Petersburg (21st Feb 
ruary, 1853) to Lord John Russell, Sir Hamilton Seymour 
states his conviction, that he must have settled in his own 
mind that the hour, if not of Turkey s dissolution, at all events 
for its dissolution, must be at hand. To whom, then, in this 
crisis, could she look for aid ? To Austria, or to Prussia ? 
These Powers the Emperor regarded as virtually at his own 
disposal. 5 To France ? Her he was prepared to defy, if she 
stood alone, and if she were inclined to resistance, he might 
hope to tempt her into inaction by supporting her claims else- 

5 This is clear from his language to Sir Hamilton Seymour : I and the 
English Government having entire confidence in one another s views, / care 
nothing about the rest. When I speak of Itussia I speak of Austria as well ; 
\vhat suits the one suits the other ; our interests as regards Turkey are per 
fectly identical. Eastern Papers, Part V. p. 10. And again (Ibid. p. 4) : 
Je desire vous parler en ami et en gentleman ; si nous arrivons a nous entendre 
xt .r cctte affaire, VAngltttrre et moi, your le reste, pen iriimporte; il ni tst in 
different ce giie font ou penscnt les autres. 


where. England was certainly formidable ; but without the 
aid of France from which, under its new dynasty the Czar 
mistakenly supposed that she had become estranged even 
she might be encountered ; especially if a march could be 
stolen on her vigilance, and the Eussian forces should gain a 
firm hold upon Turkish soil before she was in a position to 
move. Sincere herself in disclaiming any purpose of selfish 
aggrandisement, she might be quieted by the C%ar s assurances, 
as a friend, a gentleman, that Russia was actuated by the 
same purpose, while the forces were being advanced to the 
Turkish frontier. In this way a blow might be struck so 
sudden and so deadly, as to turn the scale in the favour of 
Russia in any resistance to her advance upon Constantinople 
which might afterwards be attempted by England. Add to 
these considerations the effect of being told that England s 
fighting days were over ; and does it not become more than 
probable, that the Emperor Nicholas would not have been 
withheld from his aggression upon Turkey by any language, 
however decided, which the English Cabinet might have 
used ? 

And indeed, short of absolute defiance, more decided 
language could scarcely have been used than that which was 
held by England. The Emperor was told, early in 1853, that 
we in no way shared his belief that Turkey was in a dying state ; 
that in any case, if mischief did befall her, the question how 
her provinces should be dealt with was one, not for Russia 
and England merely, but for all the Powers of Europe ; and 
that, while having ourselves no wish to hold Constantinople, 
we should not submit to its being held by Russia. If in the 
face of these intimations the Emperor persevered in his 
measures for invading Turkey, he must have been prepared 
at all hazards to encounter any resistance from us which such 
a step might provoke. That this perseverance must provoke 
such resistance was obvious from the moment that the four 


Great Powers supported Turkey in her modifications of the 
Vienna Note. Only by adopting their proposals, could 
Russia have averted a war. But this she refused to do, and 
so brought matters to a point, as expressed by the Prince 
(ante, vol. ii. 517), where, only with the most dishonourable 
cowardice on the part of the Powers, could the demands be 
conceded by them which are now set up. 

If the politic wisdom, which had compassed the stealthy 
encroachments of Russia for the last 150 years, had still 
prevailed, the Emperor would surely have sought the means 
at this point of retreating from the position he had taken a 
position which he was told by the united voice of Europe 
was untenable. But he did not do so. Many and Lord 
Aberdeen among the number found it hard to believe that 
the Sovereign, who throughout a long reign had been the 
foremost to uphold the obligations of treaties, would endanger 
the peace of Europe by seeking to disturb the territorial 
status, and at that very point where of all others any distur 
bance was sure to occasion an European convulsion. 6 The 
arbitrament of war, moreover, was too serious to be lightly 
courted ; and although by this time a strong feeling of sym 
pathy for Turkey had been aroused, it is impossible to look 
back upon the history of this period of excitement without 
coming to the conclusion, that the Government did well to 
repress rather than stimulate any action which might 
nave precipitated a recourse to arms. Russia was believed to 
be well prepared for war. Turkey was not ; neither were we. 

G It was, as might have been expected, very early foreseen that, when it was 
found war could not be avoided, people would be ready to say, that it might 
have been avoided if the Emperor Nicholas had been told in blunt language 
that England would fight if he did not withdraw his claims. In writing (20th 
December, 1853) to Lord Clarendon the Queen says: Lord Palmerston s 
mode of proceeding always hud that advantage, that it threatened steps which 
it was hoped would not become necessary, whilst those hitherto taken started 
on the principle of not needlessly offending Eussia by threats, obliging us at 
the same time to take the very steps which we refused to threaten. 


France was equally unprepared. Austria and Prussia hung 
back, but if they could be induced to concur in active mea 
sures with the Western Powers, it was manifestly impossible 
for Russia, even at the eleventh hour, to do otherwise than 
recede. The Cabinet, when they joined with France in send 
ing their fleets to the support of Turkey, could not but know 
that this was war, whatever gloss might be put upon the 
proceeding. 7 If they hoped that a movement so serious 
might make the Emperor pause in his determination, they 
must have done so in the face of all experience of his pas 
sionate and imperious nature ; and by adopting it without 
at the same time declaring war, they seemed to have drifted 
into the war which they professed themselves anxious to 
avoid. But if they did so drift, it was not as a vessel drifts 
before wind and tide, without a steersman at the helm ; but 
rather as every Ministry may be said to drift, where after 
long forbearance a war is forced upon them by the obstinacy 
of an antagonist deaf to reason and remonstrance. It was 
natural, perhaps, that the action of the Government should 
seem wavering and uncertain to those who could not measure 
the difficulties of their position, or the importance of the 
negotiations which were then pending with the other Powers. 
But any misconstruction of this kind was of little moment, 
so long as the Ministry had the satisfaction of knowing, 
that they had not embroiled their country in war, until 
every effort at conciliation had been made, and the utmost 
limits of forbearance had been reached. 

It was, no doubt, unfortunate for them that a belief should 
have become widely spread, a belief traceable to their own 

7 In returning to Lord Clarendon (20th December, 1853) the Draft De 
spatch to Lord Cowley, which authorised the joint action of the Allied fleets in 
the Black Sea for confining Russian ships of war to Sebastopol, Her Majesty 
wrote : The concluding sentence [of the Despatch] the Queen must consider 
as tantamount to a Declaration of War, which, however, "under the guarded 
conditions attached to it, she feels she cannot refuse to sanction. 

1854 TO DECLARE WAR. 27 

ranks, that a section of the Cabinet thought that a warlike 
policy had not been pressed with sufficient determination. At no 
time can the encouragement given by such rumours of internal 
dissension to the attacks of the Opposition be otherwise than 
damaging to a Ministry, and their evil influence was felt 
long alter the whole energies of the Cabinet were devoted to 
the prosecution of the war with the utmost vigour, and indeed 
so long as Lord Aberdeen remained at the head of affairs. 
Many things were, therefore, said at the opening of the 
Session, which were shown to be both harsh and unjust, as 
soon as the Ministry were able to make public the details of 
the negotiations of the previous year. When these became 
known, the feeling of distrust gave way to one of confidence. 
Jn an animated debate on the 20th of February, Lord Pal- 
merston, in a speech in his best manner, triumphantly vindi 
cated the Ministry from the charge which had been pressed 
against them by Mr. Disraeli, of credulity in attaching credit 
to the representations of the Russian Government : 

It is said, that we heard of military preparations on the part 
of Russia, and we ought to have inferred from this that some 
other demands were on foot. We were told by the Russian 
Government itself that such preparations were making, but we 
were also told by the Russian Government that their sole object 
was to counteract the menacing language which had been used bv 
France, and that they bore solely and entirely on the question of 
the Holy Places. We were told also, it is quite true, that 
Russia required some proof of confidence, as well as some repa 
ration from Turkey, for offences which she had committed in 
connection with the changes that had been made in the question 
of the Holy Places, and that the security was to be in the form 
of a treaty confirming the Sultan s firmans for the settlement 
of that question. But we had never any intimation that any 
such treaty was to apply to other matters. 

After taxing the Russian Government with exhausting 
every modification of untruth, concealment, and evasion, 


ending with assertions of positive falsehood, Lord Palmerston, 
who was" reputed to be at variance with Lord Aberdeen as to 
his policy of forbearance, went on to ask whether anything 
had been lost by that forbearance ? Dealing 1 with the asser 
tion that Russia would have given way if we had shown 
greater vigour at first, he spoke of it as a plausible opinion, 
but, after all, only an opinion, and had Russia, instead of 
submission, urged us on then to the point at which we now 
stand, we should have been justly chargeable with a grave 
political mistake. He supported this opinion by pointing 
out, that we should then have alienated the support of 
Austria and Prussia, which up to this point we had secured, 
and whose neutrality would in any case be of vital moment. 
They were not likely to have rushed rashly into a war, which, 
if Russia should succeed, would involve 

* Such an appropriation of geographical power on her part, 
as must be fatal to the independent action of these two countries. 
.... Now they will feel it due to themselves to take some part 
in the contest, for, if they do not, Austria must have indeed 
forgotten all her established policy, and must be ignorant of all 
her own interests ; and the same is the case with Prussia. I 
therefore say, he continued, that with England and France 
acting as the supporters of Turkey, with the opinion of the 
whole of Europe opposed to the Emperor of Russia, who will not 
have a single ally to support him in his career of injustice, I 
have no doubt as to what must be the result. 

This speech did much towards repairing the mischief done 
by the reports of division in the Cabinet counsels. In writ 
ing to Baron Stockmar a few days afterwards, the Prince 
speaks of it in this sense : 

4 The Ministry, he says, has gained in moral strength. 
The publication of the Blue Book has quite changed the 
popular feeling as to the conduct of the Eastern affair, and 
in place of indignation, suspicion, &c., produced a recognition 


of the dignified bearing of the Government. The debates 
on the Eastern question have all turned out well for the 
Ministry, and now that even Palmerston has spoken out in the 
Commons, the public is satisfied. This again strengthens 
Aberdeen, whose downfall continues to be the dearest wish 
of the Tories. 

True to what he considered his pledge to the country, Lord 
John Eussell had introduced his Reform Bill on the 13th of 
February. It had its enemies, however, within the Cabinet 
itself, and it was generally felt that the time for its intro 
duction was unseasonable. On the 14th of February the 
Prince had written, It is true, que personne n en vent, 
because people see, hear, and wish for war and war only. 
In the letter to Baron Stockmarjust quoted, he thus refers to 

Lord John has introduced his Reform Bill, and, although 
Parliament is now as before most anxious to get quit of the 
whole question, and all parties, the Whigs included, would 
fain get Lord John out of the way at once and for ever, yet 
the measure has met with so much genuine support through 
out the country by reason of its fairness, moderation, liberality 
and comprehensiveness, that Parliament will have to deal 
warily both with it and its originator. The Radicals decided 
yesterday at a private meeting on giving their adhesion to it. 
The Bill is, moreover, a really good one, especially the in 
troduction of the principle of a representation of minorities 
by way of compensation for the extension of the franchise. 

Then returning to the all-engrossing subject of the hour, the 
Prince continues : 

Twelve thousand men will be assembled in Malta within 
a few days. Lord Raglan receives the command : the two 
Divisions will be led by George [Duke of] Cambridge and 


General Browne. Gordon, who goes out upon the Staff, has 
left me, and I have appointed in his stead Captain du Plat of 
the Artillery, son of the Consul General in Warsaw. We are 
getting ready 15.000 men besides. France, which has hitherto 
shown no disposition to send a single man, will now send 
45,000. The answer of the Emperor of Russia to the French 
Emperor s published letter, in which 1812 is bluntly pointed 
at, breaks down the bridge between these two potentates, 
and makes future coquetting impossible. 

We have exchanged notes with France, by which we 
mutually put ourselves under condition neither to seek nor 
reap any territorial advantage nor aggrandisement from the 
war, and offer Austria and Prussia admission into the alliance 
upon the same conditions. 

( Austria seems to have wakened up at last, and to be 
anxious to assume her place in our confederacy : if she does, 
Prussia will come in with her. Manteuffel s behaviour 
hitherto has been excellent. We have tendered to the Porte 
a Protective Treaty, which will be signed forthwith. 

* We have placed our own commerce and that of France 
at sea and throughout the world under mutual protection, 
as a precaution against the worst complications, and we are 
ready for war. The Baltic Fleet will be the finest that ever 
went to sea, twenty-eight sail of the line, to which France 
will add a complement of fifteen. In Petersburg they seem 
to have made up their mind to throw down the gauntlet to 
all Europe. Doubts begin to be entertained as to the 
Emperor s sanity. 

4 Our finances are so flourishing, that we expect to carry 
on the war without borrowing a shilling, doubling the Income 
Tax in case of need ; at the same time, however, we shall 
not give a shilling of subsidy to any one. The public is as 
eager for war as ever. In the theatre every allusion to it is 
received with acclamations. 


It soon became evident that the Prince s fears as to the 
fate of the Keform Bill were to be realised. Although Lord 
Palmerston had professed his approval of its leading- 
principles, when he resumed his place in the Ministry after 
his brief secession in December, it was notorious that neither 
Lord Lansdowne nor himself approved of the measure, nor 
of the time chosen for bringing it forward. The knowledge 
of this circumstance emboldened the Opposition in their 
determination to prevent any change in the representation. 
Many even of the ordinary supporters of the Ministry re 
monstrated against stirring further with the measure, and an 
independent member, Sir E. Dering, gave notice of his in 
tention to move an amendment, on the second reading, that 
it was inexpedient to discuss it in the present state of our 
foreign relations. On the 3rd of March the second reading 
was adjourned to the 16th of April. But there was every 
reason to apprehend a serious defeat if this were pressed, and 
on the llth of that month Lord John Russell was compelled 
to announce the withdrawal of the measure for the Session. 
His emotion in doing so indicated very plainly, that he was 
constrained to this step, as much by the coldness of friends, 
as by the pressure of the ostensibly more urgent business 
by which he professed to have been moved to sacrifice his 
cherished scheme. 

But in truth the country was in no mood to consider any 
question, either of contraction or redistribution of the fran 
chise. Its whole thoughts were concentrated on the war, 
which, in the Queen s words in writing to King Leopold (14th 
February), was popular beyond belief. The enthusiasm con 
tinued to rise with the preparations, which were now actively 
on foot, for a conflict, in which the country was impatient to 
engage. The Czar s reply to the Emperor of the French had 
dispelled the last hope that he would abate one jot of his pre 
tensions ; and, if anything had been wanting to animate the 


popular feeling, the manifesto which he issued on the 23rd 
of February would have been more than sufficient for the 
purpose. England and France, it ran, ( have sided with 
the enemies of Christianity against Russia combating for 
the Orthodox faith. But Russia will not betray her holy 
mission, and if enemies encroach upon her frontiers, we are 
ready to meet them with the firmness bequeathed to us by 
our forefathers. This language imported a fiercer rancour 
into a strife already sufficiently embittered, by declaring that 
to be a war of creeds which the Western nations could only 
recognise as the offspring of a reckless ambition. 

The Russian Ambassador had quitted London on the 
7th of February, and the same day our Ambassador at St. 
Petersburg was recalled. The formality of declaring war had 
nevertheless not been gone through. The time, however, for 
doing this had now come. Towards the end of February the 
Austrian Prime Minister had let it be known, that if France 
and England would fix a day for the evacuation of the 
Principalities by Russia, after which, if the notice were dis 
regarded, hostilities would commence, Austria would support 
the summons. No time was lost in acting upon this an 
nouncement, and on the 27th of February simultaneous notes 
to this effect were despatched to St. Petersburg from London 
and from Paris. The bearer of these despatches was to wait 
six days for a reply, and the 30th of April was named as the 
day for the evacuation of the Principalities. To these notes, 
which were delivered to the Emperor on the 14th of March, 
lie intimated to the representatives of England and France, 
through his Chancellor, that he did not think it fitting (con- 
r enable] that he should make any reply. This decision reached 
London by the 24th. On the 27th the Emperor of the French 
addressed a message to the Corps Legislatif, announcing that 
Russia, having refused to reply to the summons of France 
and England, was thereby placed, with regard to France, in a 


state of war, the whole responsibility of which rested upon 
Russia. The same day a message from the Queen to the 
House of Lords announced the failure of the negotiations 
with Russia, in which, in concert with her allies, Her 
Majesty had been for some time engaged, and on the follow 
ing day a formal Declaration of War was issued. This 
document, after narrating the progress of the Eastern 
Question with admirable succinctness, concluded thus : 

* In this conjuncture, Her Majesty feels called upon, by regard 
for an ally, the integrity and independence of whose empire have 
been recognised as essential to the peace of Europe, by the sym 
pathies of her people with right against wrong, by a desire to 
avert from her dominions most injurious consequences, and to 
save Europe from the preponderance of a Power, which has 
violated the faith of treaties and defies the opinion of the civi 
lised world, to take up arms, in conjunction with the Emperor 
of the French, for the defence of the Sultan. Her Majesty is 
persuaded that in so acting she will have the support of her 
people ; and that the pretext of zeal for the Christian religion 
will be used in vain to cover an aggression undertaken in dis 
regard of its holy precepts and of its pure and beneficent spirit. 

Meanwhile a considerable portion of the troops destined 
for action in the East had sailed. No nobler body of men 
ever wore the British uniform than the regiments which 
passed through London in these days, high in heart and 
hope, and in the flower of manly vigour, amid the cheers of 
surging and enthusiastic crowds. Of one detachment so 
starting to scenes of privation and trial, then little dreamed 
of by these crowds or by themselves, a glimpse is furnished 
in a few graphic touches in a letter by the Queen to King 
Leopold on the 28th of February : 

6 The last battalion of the Guards (Scottish Fusiliers) 
embarked to-day. They passed through the court-yard here 
at seven o clock this morning. We stood on the balcony to 
see them. The morning fine, the sun shining over the 



towers of Westminster Abbey, and an immense crowd col 
lected to see the fine men, and cheering them immensely 
as with difficulty they marched along. They formed line, 
presented arms, and then cheered us very heartily, and went 
off cheering. It was a touching and beautiful sight. Many 
sorrowing friends were there, and one saw the shake of many 
a hand. My best wishes and prayers will be with them all. 

A few days after this (10th of March, 1854), the Queen and 
Prince left London for Osborne, in order that they might visit 
the magnificent fleet which had been assembled at Spithead 
under the command of Sir Charles Napier. On the eve 
of their departure Her Majesty writes to Lord Aberdeen : 

We are just starting to see the fleet, which is to sail at 
once for its important destination. It will be a solemn 
moment ! Many a heart will be very heavy, and many a 
prayer, including our own, will be offered up for its safety 
and glory ! 



THE fame of the stately fleet which was assembled at 
Spithead had drawn thousands to Portsmouth from every 
part of the country, and the appearance it presented answered 
the high expectations which had been raised. Twenty iron 
ships, all moved by steam, composed the squadron. Of these 
the Duke of Wellington, of 131 guns, and the Royal George, 
of 120 guns, were three-deckers, six more were line-of-battle 
ships, and the remaining twelve were all of great tonnage, 
and armed with artillery of the most formidable weight. The 
weather which awaited the Queen on her arrival from London 
was too bad to admit of any deliberate inspection of the 
fleet on her way to Osborne, and prevented Her Majesty from 
visiting the Admiral s ship, the St. Jean cPAcre, as she had 
intended. But although the bad weather somewhat marred 
what would otherwise have been a spectacle of unusual beauty 
and interest, it could not deprive those who were at this 
moment uppermost in Her Majesty r s thoughts of the en 
couragement of her presence. Leaving Portsmouth amid 
the thunders of a salute from the vessels there, including 
the old Victory, the little Royal yacht, the Fairy, made 
its way through the squadron, amid the cheers of the men, 
by whom the yards were manned, and the roar of the guns, 
and then bore away for Osborne. 

Next day (llth March) the Queen and Prince returned in 
the Fairy to Spithead to witness the departure of the first 
Division of the squadron for the Baltic. Taking her place at 



the head of the squadron, the Fairy led the way for several 
miles, and then stopped while the fleet defiled past the Eoyal 
yacht, saluting as it went. As the majestic procession went 
by, the Admiral bringing up the rear in the Duke of Wel 
lington, The Times chronicler reports, Her Majesty stood 
waving her handkerchief towards the mighty ship as she 
departed, and for a long time after the whole fleet had gone 
the Royal yacht remained motionless, as if the illustrious 
occupants desired to linger over a spectacle calculated to 
impress them so profoundly. What was in the Queen s heart 
at the time we may infer from a few words in a letter of this 
period to Baron Stockmar : I am very enthusiastic about my 
dear army and navy, and wish I had two sons in both now. 
I know I shall suffer much when I hear of losses among them. 
On the 15th, when the second Division of the squadron sailed, 
the Queen and Prince returned to Spithead to give them a 
parting greeting. 

On the llth March the Prince writes to Baron Stockmar : 

4 1 write to you to-day from Osborne, to which we came 
yesterday, in order to see at noon to-day the fleet put to sea 
which has been mustered at Spithead, and is to go to the 
Baltic under Sir Charles Napier. It is wonderfully fine, con 
sisting almost exclusively of screw ships, and carries 2,000 guns 
and 21,000 men. The French have not yet been able to get 
a single ship ready to start, but they promise great things. 
We can wait no longer, for the ice in the Baltic is beginning 
to break up. 

Admiral Sir Charles Napier felt that too much had been 
spoken and written as to what his fleet might be relied on to 
effect ; and, in replying to an address from the corporation 
of Portsmouth just before starting, he had done his best to 
moderate the expectations which had been raised, and which 
the event proved to be greatly exaggerated. Some days 


before (7th March) a dinner, presided over by Lord Palmers- 
ton, and attended by Sir James Graham, First Lord of the 
Admiralty, and by Sir William Molesworth, the First Com 
missioner of Works, had been given to him at the Reform 
Club. A more prudent man would not have allowed himself 
to be put in a position where modesty in speech was sure to be 
construed into lack of spirit, and yet where confident assertion 
must have that air of bravado which a brave man most abhors. 
Sir Charles Napier was not the man to steer between a 
Scylla and Charybdis of this kind. But his speech upon the 
occasion created less dissatisfaction than those of the more 
practised orators, who made him the object of their encomium. 
It was a new feature in English political life, that members 
of the Cabinet should take an active part in a public dinner 
to an Admiral on the eve of his assuming a command at the 
outset of a great war. There was no need to fan the war 
spirit of the country, for it was already at fever pitch ; and it 
was generally felt that it would have been time enough to 
speak of English prowess and the great qualities of a naval 
leader, after victory, and not before it. The tone of the 
speeches of both Lord Palmerston and Sir James Graham was 
resented as flippant and unbecoming by those whose hearts 
went entirely with the war, scarcely less than by those 
who most strongly condemned it. I have read, said Mr. 
Bright, a few nights afterwards in the House of Commons, 
6 the proceedings of that banquet with pain and humiliation. 
The reckless levity displayed is, in my opinion, discreditable 
to the grave and responsible statesmen of a civilised and 
Christian nation. Losing his wonted self-control, Lord 
Palmerston adopted a tone of contemptuous indignation in 
his reply, but the House was not in a temper to submit to an 
exhibition of the same levity towards themselves, and he 
was made to feel that his influence, great as it was, could not 
reconcile them to the grave mistake which he had committed. 


By this time it had become clear that Russian influence 
at the Court of Berlin was actively at work to undo the 
European concert which had hitherto been maintained. The 
Prussian envoy at the Conference of Vienna had, as we have 
seen, joined in the declaration that the recent proposals of 
the Czar were inadmissible. But no sooner had this step 
been taken than the King of Prussia became alarmed at the 
act of his own Government. His dread of what the Czar 
might do in the way of attack on Prussia was known to 
verge on absolute pusillanimity, and the alternative now 
presented to his choice was, either to follow the other Great 
Powers into enforcing by arms their declaration that the de 
mands of Russia were incompatible with the faith of treaties 
and the peace of Europe, or to take up a position of neu 
trality, on the ground that the interests of Prussia were not 
involved in the quarrel. 

In the letter to Baron Stockmar just quoted the Prince 
says on this subject : 

The European complication is becoming*, through the 
conduct of the King of Prussia, most perilous for Germany. 
He has within the last fortnight taken a decided turn in 


favour of Russia, and Bunsen has fallen into extreme dis 
credit here. After he had depicted in the most glowing 
colours Prussia s readiness to stand by the Western Powers, 
and urged us de pousser la pointe, and to force his 
Ministry into further declarations, telling us they needed 
and desired such a stimulus, he has, since his master s 
change of front, become suddenly very violent with Lord 
Clarendon " Prussia could not allow herself to be bullied, 
&c. &c. &c. 

The irritation here against the Prussian Court is very 
great, and not undeserved. After it had caused intimation 
to be made of its dread of France, and we had procured a 


declaration for them that no territorial aggrandisement of 
any kind would be accepted by that nation, they now affect 
a fear of Eussia, as though Prussia must be swallowed up in 
a moment. This to a certain extent paralyses Austria, and 
once the war begins, which it will do in a fortnight, arid 
Europe is found to act in concert no longer, the King s 
character must inevitably be damaged, and a revolutionary 
war ensue. 

Reform is meanwhile postponed till Easter, and I do not 
see a chance for its being taken up again. 

The King of Prussia seems to have thought that some 
thing could be done by taking the Eastern Question into his 
own hands, and making a direct personal appeal to the English 
Sovereign. It is difficult to see by what process he could 
have brought himself to think, that such a step could be of 
any avail, unless, indeed, it were that, in his conceptions of 
a constitutional monarchy, the will of the Sovereign was 
omnipotent, and could reverse the decisions of the Ministry. 
However this may be, scarcely had the decision negative of the 
Czar s proposals been come to at Vienna, when he despatched 
a cavalry officer, General von der Groben, with two letters 
to our Queen, one official and the other private. Both 
letters could of course only be dealt with by Her Majesty as 
public documents addressed to her advisers as well as to 
herself. Their only practical object was to urge the Queen 
to consider anew the Russian proposal, which had been 
rejected at Vienna, in a spirit of conciliation and a love of 
peace. If only she would do this, the King wrote, he would 
not abandon the hope that a good understanding would yet 
be come to between Great Britain, France, and Russia. As 
the official letter was confined to this suggestion, the answer 
was short and decided : Although anxious, it bore, to co 
operate with Your Majesty in every effort for the preservation 


of peace, I deeply lament to say that I cannot venture to 
entertain a hope that war will now be averted ; but I feel 
confidence that its sphere may be restricted, and the duration 
of that great calamity may be shortened by the Four Powers 
continuing to be firmly united in their policy and course of 

The King s other letter, which was long and eloquent as 
usual, demanded a more elaborate reply. I am informed, 1 
he wrote, that the Eussian Emperor has sent proposals for 
preliminaries of peace to Vienna, and that these have been 
pronounced by the Conference of Ambassadors not to be in 
accordance with their programme. Just there, where the 
vocation of diplomacy ceases, does the special province of the 
Sovereign begin. The moment is big with a most mo 
mentous decision. The destinies of a quarter of the globe 
hang upon a cast of the die. If God be not merciful to 
Europe, we are face to face with a war of which the end 
cannot be foreseen. Then recalling the enormous losses of 
human life in the war of 1813-14-15 a war commensurate, 
however, with the horrors of the sacrifice, the King asks, 
if the impending war is worth the much greater sacrifice 
which it will demand, looking to the inexhaustible resources 
and the imshakeable resolution of Russia and the Allied 

4 Is it not most strange, the letter continues, f that 
England seems for some time past to have been ashamed of 
what has been the special motive cause of the impending 
conflagration ? Who now speaks of the Turk ? On the 
contrary, the war will now be in the highest sense of the 
word a war for an idea (ein Tendenzkrieg). 1 The pre- 

1 It is difficult to find in English a full equivalent for this -word. The 
meaning seems to be a war directed to a remote ulterior purpose as contrasted 
with a war for an immediate and tangible object, such as a war of defence or 
of reprisals. 


ponderance of Russia is to be broken down ! Well ! I, her 
neighbour, have never felt this preponderance, and have never 
yielded to it. And England, in truth, has felt it less than I. 
The equilibrium of Europe will be menaced by this war, for 
the world s greatest Powers will be weakened by it. But, 
above all, suffer me to ask, u Does God s law justify a war for 
an idea ? " This last consideration it is that leads the writer 
to implore Pier Majesty, for the sake of the Prince of 
Peace, not to reject the Russian proposals. . . . Order them 
to be probed to the bottom, and see that this is done in. a 
desire for peace. Cause what may be accepted to be win- 
nowed from u hat appears objectionable, and set negoti 
ations on foot upon this basis ! I know that the Russian 
Emperor is ardently desirous of peace. Let Your Majesty 
build a bridge for the principle of his life the Imperial 
honour ! He will walk over it, extolling God and praising 
Him. For this I pledge myself. 

In conclusion,, will Your Majesty allow me to say one 
word for Prussia and for myself ? / am resolved to main 
tain a position of complete neutrality ; and to this I add, 
with proud elation, My people and myself are of one mind. 
They require absolute neutrality from me. They say (and 
I say), " What have we to do with the Turk ? " Whether he 
stand or fall in no way concerns the industrious Rhinelanders 
and the husbandmen of the Riesengebirg and Bernstein. 
Grant that the Russian tax-gatherers are an odious race, and 
that of late monstrous falsehoods have been told and outrages 
perpetrated in the Imperial name. It was the Turk, and 
not we who suffered, and the Turk has plenty of good fiiends, 
but the Emperor is a noble gentleman, and has done us no 
harm. Your Majesty will allow that this North German 
sound practical sense is difficult to gainsay. . . . Should 
Count Groben come too late, should war have been declared, 
still I do not abandon hope. Many a war has been declared, 


and yet not come to actual blows. God the Lord s Will 

To rebuke, without violating the forms of courtesy, the 
amiable but most mischievous weakness which pervades this 
letter, and to make appeal to a sentiment higher than the 
short-sighted and selfish policy which it announced, was no 
easy task. But the firm hand and admirable tact which 
never failed the Sovereign was equal to the task. Her 
Majesty s reply was in German, and the earnest conviction 
under which it was written is visible in the firm and fluent 
characters of the draft of it, in the Prince s autograph, which 
lies before us, without a word of erasure or interlineation, as 
we translate : 

Osborne, 17th March, 1854. 

6 Dear Brother, General Graf von Groben has handed to 
me the official as well as private letter of Your Majesty, and 
I send your friendly messenger back to you with answers to 
both. He will be able to tell you by word of mouth, what 
I can only do imperfectly in writing, how deep is my regret, 
that after we have gone hand in hand loyally until now, 
you should separate from us at this critical moment. My 
regret is all the greater bv reason of my inability even to 
comprehend the reasons which induce Your Majesty to take 
this step. 

The recent Russian proposals came as an answer to the 
very last attempt at a compromise which the Powers con 
sidered they could make with honour, and they have been 
rejected by the Vienna Conference, not because they were 
merely at variance with the language of the programme, but 
because they were directly contrary to its meaning. Y^our 
Majesty s envoy has taken part in this Conference and its 
decision, and when Your Majesty says, " where the vocation of 
diplomacy ends, there that of the Sovereign may with pro- 


priety begin," I cannot concur in any such line of demarcation, 
for what my ambassador does, he does in my name, and 
consequently I feel myself not only bound in honour, but 
also constrained by an imperative obligation to accept the 
consequences, whatever they may be, of the line which he 
has been directed to adopt. 

4 The consequences of a war, frightful and incalculable as 
they are, are as distressing to me to contemplate as they are 
to Your Majesty. I am also aware that the Emperor of 
Russia does not wish for war. But he makes demands upon 
the Porte, which the united European Powers, yourself 
included, have solemnly declared to be incompatible with the 
independence of the Porte and the equilibrium of Europe. 
In view of this declaration, and of the presence of the 
Russian army of invasion in the Principalities, the Powers 
must be prepared to support their words by acts. If the 
Turk now retires into the background, and the impending 
war appears to you to be a " war for an idea/ the reason 
is simply this, that the very motives which urge on the 
Emperor, in spite of the protest of all Europe, and at the 
risk of a war that may devastate the world, to persist in his 
demands, disclose a determination to realise a fixed idea, and 
that the grand ulterior consequences of the war must be 
regarded as far more important than its original ostensible 
cause, which in the beginning appeared to be neither more 
nor less than the key of the back door of a mosque. 

6 Your Majesty calls upon me " to probe the question to 
the bottom in the spirit and love of peace, and to build a 
bridge for the Imperial honour." .... All the devices 
and ingenuity of diplomacy and also of good will have been 
squandered during the last nine months in vain attempts 
to build up such a bridge ! Projets de Notes, Conventions, 
Protocols, &c. &c., by the dozen have emanated from the 
Chancelleries of the different Powers, and the ink that has 


gone to the penning- of them might well be called a second 
Black Sea-. But every one of them has been wrecked upon 
the self-will of your Imperial brother-in-law. 

4 When Your Majesty tells me "that you are now deter 
mined to assume an attitude of complete neutrality," and 
that in this mind you appeal to your people, who exclaim 
with sound practical sense, " It is to the Turk that violence 
has been done ; the Turk has plenty of good friends, and the 
Emperor has done us no harm," I do not understand you. 
Had such language fallen from the King of Hanover or of 
Saxony, I could have understood it. But up to the present 
hour I have regarded Prussia as one of the five Grreat 
Powers, which since the Peace of 181,") have been the 
guarantors of treaties, the guardians of civilisation, the 
champions of right, and ultimate arbitrators of the nations ; 
and I have for my part felt the holy duty to which they 
were thus divinely called, being at the same time perfectly 
alive to the obligations, serious as these are and fraught 
with danger, which it imposes. Eenounce these obligations, 
my dear brother, and in doing so you renounce for Prussia 
the status she has hitherto held. And if the example thus 
set should find imitators, European civilisation is abandoned 
as a plaything for the winds ; right will no longer find a 
champion, nor the oppressed an umpire to appeal to. 

4 Let not Your Majesty think that my object in what I 
have said is to persuade you to change your determination ; 
it is a genuine outpouring from the heart of a sister who is 
devoted to you, who could not forgive herself if, at such an 
eventful moment, she did not lay bare her inmost soul to 
you. So little have I it in my purpose to seek to persuade 
you, that nothing has pained me more than the suspicion 
expressed through General von der Grroben in your name, 
that it was the wish of England to lead you into temptation 
by holding out the prospect of certain advantages. The 


groundlessness of such an assumption is apparent from the 
very terms of the Treaty, which was offered to you, the most 
important clause of which was that by which the contracting 
parties pledged themselves, under no circumstances , to seek 
to obtain from the war any advantage to themselves. Your 
Majesty could not possibly have given any stronger proof of 
your unselfishness than by your signature to this treaty. 

But now to conclude ! You think that war might even 
be^declared, yet you express the hope that for all that it 
might still not break out. I cannot, unfortunately, give 
countenance to the hope that the declaration will not be 
followed by immediate action. . Shakspeare s words 


Of entrance to a quarrel ; but, being in, 
Bear it, that the opposer may beware of thee 

have sunk deeply into every Englishman s heart. Sad that 
they should find their application here, where, in other cir 
cumstances, personal friendship and liking would alone pre 
vail ! What must be Your Majesty s state of mind at seeing 
them directed against a beloved brother-in-law, whom yet, 
much as you love him, your conscience cannot acquit of the 
crime of having, by his arbitrary and passionate bearing, 
brought such vast misery upon the world ! 

May the Almighty have you in His keeping ! 

With Albert s warmest remembrances and our united 
greetings to the dear Queen, I remain, 
My dear Brother, 

4 Your Majesty s faithful sister and friend, 


In returning the draft of this letter to the Prince (18th 
of March) Lord Clarendon said, that he ; had read it with 
sincere pleasure and admiration. It is probably the first 
time that a faithful picture of his conduct and position has 


been presented to the King. I have sent a translation to 
Lord Aberdeen. 

A few days afterwards the Prince reported his views of 
the political position in the following letter to Baron Stock- 
mar : 

During the time I have not written, a period of scarcely 
a fortnight, the political world has again undergone a marked 
revolution. The symptoms which we had noted in Berlin 
were speedily followed by a complete right-about-face in the 
Prussian policy. The indignation here on the subject of the 
inconstancy, the unreliableness, and the folly ( Unverstand) of 
the King is very great. Even Bunsen has been acting 
foolishly, first laying before the King a grand scheme for the 
partition of Eussia to the advantage of Prussia, and then, 
when he found that this had fallen into the hands of his 
master s Eussian camarilla, and had roused the King s own 
indignation, making a scene with Lord Clarendon, in which 
he started, without any justification, the theme, " Prussia will 
not be bullied," and, in order to set himself right again at 
home, telegraphing that Lord Clarendon had answered him 
in very violent language (which was true). Now, however, 
the King has referred the violence to the scheme of partition, 
called himself disgraced, &c. It was necessary Bunsen should 
have a diplomatic indisposition for some months. He replied 
that he would not be indisposed. Then Von der Grroben 
was sent to explain the King s policy ! No pleasant task 
either ! But the choice for the purpose was good, for it fell 
upon a man, who knew absolutely nothing of the policy, who 
was no witch and no diplomatist, and had not read a single 
official document on the Eastern Question, and who was only 
allowed six hours pour faire ses mattes, after receiving the 
announcement of his mission. And this was the man charged 
with the duty of convincing England, that the intentions of 


the Emperor of Kussia were excellent, and that we ought not 
to make war upon the poor man! The King wished to 
preserve complete neutrality, for he was furious that it 
should have been thought he was open to be bribed. Prussia 
and Germany have absolutely no interest in the Eastern 
Question, except the wish to see Christianity established ! ! 
The answers you may imagine. 

I have read Ofustav Diezel s brochure with extreme 
interest, 2 and arranged for its translation into English. It 
is admirably written. When one is standing in the tread 
mill of action, the product of the calm consecutive thought 
of a German highly cultivated philosophical head is a great 
refreshment. You can form no conception of the fatigue 
which just at this moment this treadmill causes me, and of 
the refreshment which a quarter of an hour s conversation 
with you now and then would be to me. 

f Even yet Aberdeen cannot rise to the level of the 
situation (Aberdeen kann sich noch nicht in die Hohe 
schwingen) ; the war is in his eyes " like a civil war, like 
a war between England and Scotland ! " I do not like it 
myself (ich mag ihn nicht), but for all that I cannot conjure 
up his feeling within myself, perhaps because I was born in 
1819, and he was serving in 1813 and 1814 in the head 
quarters of the Allies. 

If Austria continue true, this feeling will be greatly 
modified, but Prussia makes it very difficult for it to do so. 

6 The Baltic Fleet is superb ; on the other hand, the 
speeches at the Napier dinner at the Keform Club, where 
Palmerston presided, were scandalous and vulgar. 

c The publication of Hamilton Seymour s Conversations 

12 Eussland, DeutscMand, und die Oestliche Frage, von Gustav Diezel. Stutt 
gart, 1853. The Prince does not seem to have carried out his intention to 
have this very able pamphlet translated. It would have been of great use 
towards making the complications of the Eastern Question well understood, 
and would have been probably more useful in 1876 than in 1853. 


with the Emperor of All the Russias, which the Journal 
de Petersbourg has forced upon us, will no doubt produce 
a great sensation on the Continent. The Emperor s dis 
honesty could not portray itself in more glaring colours, 3 
nor his disparaging estimate of the Grerman Powers. 

Buckingham Palace, 23rd March, 1834. 

The celebrated Conversations here mentioned by the 
Prince might long have been confined to the official archives, 
but for the article in the Journal de St.-Petersbourg on 
the 2nd of March, which obviously emanated from the 
Imperial Chancery. It professed to be an answer to the im 
putation of bad faith on the part of the Russian Govern 
ment, which had been made by Lord John Russell, in a speech 
in Parliament on the 17th of February. To this charge the 
confidential communications between the Governments were 
appealed to as giving an absolute negative. So challenged, 
the Government was absolved from the well-understood rule 
which bound them to confine the knowledge of such confi 
dential communications to the Cabinet itself. They could 
have desired nothing better than to have their hands 
set free, for the documents, while they proved, in Lord 
Clarendon s words, 4 that our Ministry had been honest to 
the Sultan, honest to our Allies, honest to the Emperor 
himself, furnished a conclusive answer to the vehement 
assertions of their opponents, that they had wavered in their 
policy, and had allowed themselves to be hoodwinked by 
the devices of Russian diplomacy. If they had been back 
ward in recognising all the dangers of the situation, it was 
now seen, that this was due solely to the assurances, of 

9 What would the v/orld have thought, could it have known that before 
feeling the pule of the English Ambassador as to the dismemberment of 
Turkey, the ?]mperor had made similar overtures to Austria, and with equal 
want of success? Our Government was not aware of this till long afterwards. 

4 In his speech (31st March) on moving the Address in answer to the Queen s 
message, announcing the cessation of friendly relations with Kussia. 


the most positive character, given by the Emperor himself, 
that he would take no decisive step in regard to Turkey of 
which England should not previously have been apprised. 
In the Imperial Memorandum, which closed the series of 
documents referred to. the Emperor professed his ready con 
currence in the English view, i that the best means of up 
holding the duration of the Turkish Grovernment was not to 
harass it by overbearing demands, supported in a manner 
humiliating to its independence and dignity. The Memo 
randum was dated the 15th of April, 1853 ; but at the very 
moment when the Emperor was holding this language to 
our representative at St. Petersburg, Prince Menschikorf 
was trying by threats at Constantinople to extort from the 
Porte a secret treaty, which Lord Stratford de Kedcliffe, in 
transmitting a copy of it to our Foreign Office, aptly 
described, as having for its object to reinstate Russian 
influence in Turkey on an exclusive basis, and in a com 
manding and stringent form. 

Read by the light of what had since occurred, there 
seemed to be no doubt, that the plans for disposing of the 
dying man s inheritance were rapidly maturing, at the very 
time that our Grovernment were being amused with a show of 
absolute confidence. An immense body of men had been 
moved up towards the Principalities in the beginning of 
1853, with a view, it was given out, to support Turkey in 
the event of any attempt by France at coercion, and this 
very force was now occupying them as a material guarantee 
for the fulfilment of Russia s demands. The idea of Con 
stantinople passing into the hands of Russia was plainly seen 
to have taken possession of the Emperor s mind. He pro 
fessed his readiness to pledge himself not to establish himself 
there c as proprietor, of course ; but as trustee (deposiiaire), 
that he would not say. 

This was a fine distinction, which might very readily be 



forgotten, should any question of dislodgment arise, especially 
as the Emperor, with marked emphasis, had declared that it 
should never be held by the English or French, or any 
other great nation. By whom, then ? For he was equally 
resolved that a Byzantine empire should not be reconstructed ; 
nor Greece extended so as to render her a powerful State ; 
nor Turkey broken up into little republics, asylums for the 
Kossuths and Mazzinis and other revolutionists of Europe. 
In the same breath he spoke of the Principalities as being 
in fact an independent State under his protection, and that 
Servia and Bulgaria might be placed in the same position. 
Carried further in these revelations of a well-considered pur 
pose than he may at first have intended, the Emperor had, 
in the same interview, hinted at propitiating England, by an 
intimation that if, in the event of a distribution of the Otto 
man succession upon the fall of the empire, we should seize 
Egypt and Candia, he would have no objections to offer. 

To such suggestions it was only to be expected that the 
English Government could lend no countenance, and if they 
discussed them, as Lord Clarendon remarked in the speech 
already referred to, it was because they wished to avert the 
danger of the dismemberment of Turkey, and to bring the 
Emperor to their own view, that Turkey would do very well, 
if left to herself, and helped and stimulated towards needful 
reforms. We fully discussed his arguments ; we gave our 
reasons for thinking the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire 
was not at hand ; we declared that we would not be a party 
to any underhand dealings, and that we would have no 
secrets from our allies ; we dismissed with something like 
silent contempt the offer of a territorial bribe, and we pointed 
out to the Emperor the course that he ought to pursue. 

The deep impression produced by the publication of these 
papers was not confined to England, but was felt throughout 
the Continent. They showed to Austria, to Prussia, and to 


France, how loyally we had refused to separate their interests 
from our own, and they could better appreciate this loyalty, 
knowing as they did how vigorously Russia had been 
intriguing at their various Courts for many months to detach 
them from the English alliance. 5 The publication was indeed 
most opportune in cementing the union with France ; and it 
was not without its effect upon the future action of Austria 
and Prussia. Austria saw with indignation that her sub 
mission to the designs of Russia was taken for granted, and 
Prussia, that she was not even thought worthy of mention 
by the Emperor in reference to what was in fact the most 
important of all European questions. Austria showed her 
sense of danger by at once placing her army on a war footing, 
and preparing to move up large reinforcements to the 
frontier. Prussia, we have seen, had declared herself neutral, 
but if Austria threw herself into the struggle along with the 

5 On the 24th of March, Lord Howard de Walden writes to Lord Clarendon 
from Brussels : The French could hardly believe their eyes when they saw 
such evidence of our honesty and loyalty towards France, and I hear that the 
remark very generally made was, " that there was an end of la perfide Albion," 
that no one could again use that hackneyed and ill-merited definition of 
England. Here the impression is astonishment at the folly of Russia in pro 
voking the publication. This is natural, from their Russian bias. 

The French Government had some reason to be surprised at the revela 
tions of Russian tactics, and they lost no time in making their representatives 
throughout Europe aware, that, from the moment Russia saw that England 
would not fall in with her views, she had tried to sow discord between England 
and France. Prince G-ortschakoff had, in November 1853, proposed to Count 
Beam, the French Minister at Stuttgart, a solution of the Eastern Question by 
means of an understanding between Russia and France. In the course of what 
passed Prince Gortschakoff had declared, that he knew England would throw 
over the Eastern Question as soon as she had got France fairly committed. 
Elle vans aura tout simplement aides a vus compromettrc, et vous laissera 
tons les embarras d nnc position faitsse et difficile. Nous avons tons a nous 
plaindre de cettc. Puissance. Qucl bon tour a lui jouer que de nous arranger sans 
file 1 Croyez-moi! Mefiez-vous de la perfide Albion / This language, and much 
more to the same effect, Prince Gortschakoff stated that he was officially 
authorised to hold. I need not say, M. Drouyn de Lhuys writes in the 
Circular Note, from which our quotations are made, that our loyalty towards 
England and towards Europe forbade us to lend an ear to these insinuations. 



Western Powers, it seemed impossible that Prussia should 
long continue to hold aloof, without danger to her own 
position in Germany. 

While, however, Prussia refused to make common cause 
with the other Powers, the position of Austria was a difficult 
one. Writing to the Prince on the 26th of March, Lord 
Clarendon says : 

The position of Austria is very embarrassing, and she may 
certainly have to encounter Russian dangers and German diffi 
culties, if she takes an active part with England and France, 
and Prussia is unfettered by any engagement, and free to attack 
her, or intrigue against her. I expect, therefore, that she will 
hesitate to sign either the Convention or the Protocol, and it 
seems a matter of doubtful policy whether she should be urged 
to do so, which is the course to which the French Government 
are inclined. I should be grateful, if your Royal Highness 
would favour me with your opinion upon this important point. 

To this letter the Prince replied, next day: I don t 
think that Austria has anything to fear from Prussia or 
Germany if she were to take an active part in the war 
together with us. The peculiarities of the Prussian Govern 
ment and Court are strong in destroying and impeding a 
bold and consistent policy, but not for originating and fol 
lowing one vide 1848-1854. The King personally will 
never injure Austria if he can help it, and the patriotic liberal 
party is powerless if Austria goes with the West, and the 
national feeling in Germany and Prussia hangs back in 
favour of Russia. The small German Courts may dislike 
seeing Austria engaged against Russia, but chiefly so from 
a fear of being abandoned to the mercy of Prussia. I can 
accordingly see no element which could make Prussia 
dangerous to Austria in the supposed contingency. The 
Prince then directs Lord Clarendon s attention to the ex 
istence of a secret treaty between Austria and Prussia, 


dated the 3rd of May, 1851, which, although he had never 
seen it, he had always considered to be the key to the 
relative positions of Austria and Prussia. The treaty was 
understood to be on the point of expiring. Should it be 
renewed Prussia would be bound to defend Austria, if at 
tacked or endangered in any of her non-German dominions. 
. . . Lord Westmoreland [our Ambassador at Vienna] ought 
to ascertain the real facts about this treaty, and until these 
are obtained, we should, in my opinion, not attempt to drive 
Austria into a corner, but merely generally exhort her to 
back us in a cause which is her own, and for which we are 
making real sacrifices. 

On the 29th of January, 1853, the Emperor Nicholas had 
told Sir Hamilton Seymour that he would never permit 
such an extension of Greece as would render her a powerful 
State ; but within a few months of that time his agents 
were busily at work, agitating secretly for a general move 
ment of the Greeks upon the Turkish frontier, and preparing 
them for a war, which they were led to believe would 
terminate not in a kingdom of Greece, but in the Hel 
lenic Empire of the East. The familiar pretext of a 
Christian crusade was put forward in the Greek Government 
paper, where the Christian Powers were violently denounced 
as alone keeping alive the anti-Christian and monstrous 
tyranny of Turkey, which must be made to give way for the 
Hellenic Empire, which was inevitably to replace it under 
the invincible arms of Russia. 6 In proportion as the deter 
mination of Eussia to hold the Principalities became more 
pronounced, the insurrectionary movement in Greece gained 
a head. It had the secret sanction of the Court, which was 
Russian to the core. Regiments were accordingly allowed 
to be organised, and officers of high rank in the Greek army 

Despatch of Mr. Wyse from Athens, 7th of April, 1853. 


made a pretence of resigning their commissions, and repaired 
to the frontier to place themselves at the head of the insur 
gents. A barbarous and sanguinary warfare raged along the 
Turkish frontier. 

During March 1854 a Despatch, dated the 2nd of that 
month, addressed by Count Nesselrode to the representatives 
of Eussia abroad, and in which the active support of Eussia 
with the movement was promised, was widely circulated in 
Greece, and for a time kept alive a struggle which had 
hitherto produced only desolation and havoc alike to Turks 
and to Greeks. But the Montenegrins, Servians, and Bul 
garians, who had been counted on to join in the insurrection, 
refused to move, while Eussia was held at bay upon the Danube 
by the Turks, and could not fulfil her promises of help. It was 
felt that the time had come to strike at the source of the 
evil, and by compelling King Otho to withdraw his secret 
support from the insurgents, to put an end to the miseries 
of the wretched populations, who were being sacrificed to an 
insane ambition. Accordingly the coasts of Greece were put 
under blockade, and 9,000 French and English troops 
landed and encamped between Athens and the Piraeus. 
Finally, the Allied Governments addressed an Ultimatum to 
the Greek Government, calling upon them to observe a strict 
neutrality towards Turkey ; and six hours only were allowed for 
an answer. The Cabinet immediately resigned ; but the 
signature of the King to the required declaration was ac 
cepted as sufficient. A new Cabinet was formed, and the 
Allied forces remained for some time to support them in their 
efforts to restore tranquillity. The officers who had joined 
the insurgents returned to bead-quarters, and by degrees the 
insurrection died completely out. 

In the following letter to his old friend at Coburg, the 
Prince deals with the argument, which was current in some 
diplomatic circles, that we should have let Eussia overthrow 


the Turkish Empire, and have been content with taking 
guarantees, that she should not do so to the prejudice of the 
other European States : 

I owe you my best thanks for two kind letters. Fischer s 
letter contains everything that can be said from the point 
of view of one who desires that neutrality should be main 
tained, and also certain individual truths, which neverthe 
less do not comprise the whole truth, and especially take no 
account of the motives by which a nation should be actuated ! 
The extracts transmitted with your letter of the 12th show 
very clearly what a terrible state things are in in Berlin. 
This is beginning to be comprehended here, and has evoked 
a contempt for the King and his Government, which is the 
worst calamity that can befall a great State. I am much 
pleased that you like Victoria s letter. 7 There is now no longer 
any excuse to be made on the ground of ignorance of the truth. 

4 In regard to the reproaches cast upon England from 
so many quarters for her narrowness of heart and short 
sightedness that it ought to have been foreseen that the 
Greeks would rise, that the Turkish supremacy cannot be 
upheld, and that the fanatic Osmanlis would rather come 
to terms with Russia than be forced to admit Christians to 
an equal footing with the Turks that she should therefore 
have rather looked calmly on at the overthrow of the Turkish 
Empire by Russia, with the view of thereupon taking so 
energetic a part in the European solution of the Hereditary 
question, that this overthrow could not have resulted to the 
advantage of Russia, I have merely to reply, that we did 
foresee all this very distinctly, but that a popular Grovern 
ment cannot cany on a policy which has apparent con 
tradictions within itself that are only to be reconciled by 
time, and one portion of which is to receive its complement 
from the other at a distant stage. The overthrow of Turkey 

7 The letter to the King of Prussia above quoted, p. 42. 


by Russia no English statesman could view with equanimity ; 
public opinion would have flung him to the winds like chaff, 
and no reliance could be placed on such far-seeing , long- 
calculated, two-sided policy, with changes of Ministry and 
Parliamentary majorities at home, and more especially with 
combinations on the Continent, in which no confidence 
could be placed. We must live from day to day, but while 
we cleave as we best can to the self-consistent and im 
pregnable principle of justice, I feel confident that, what 
ever phases may present themselves, we shall not upon the 
whole fail to deal with them wisely. Russia has done 
Turkey wrong, we must therefore procure redress for her ; 
King Otho and the Greeks have done Turkey wrong, we 
must therefore oppose him. France is minded to do battle 
for the right, we are therefore allies with France in war by 
sea and land; Prussia and Austria have acknowledged the 
right, on paper at least, and therefore we sit in conference 
with them, &c. &c. 

4 Here in our home affairs we have had another crisis 
produced by the difference between Palmerston and Lord 
John about Reform, which threatened for a time to break up 
the Ministry. This is now postponed, at least till next 
Chrisitmas ; for which date Palmerston declares he will 
continue his opposition to that Reform, which he has now 
for the third time allowed to be promised to Parliament by 
Lord John in his presence. Lord John is furious ; but 
Palmerston continues to be the popular man, and the only 
national and liberal Minister ! ! Aberdeen behaves in the 
same high-minded, courageous, and conciliatory spirit he 
has always shown, but he has no end of troubles. 8 At home 
all is well ; the children make steady progress. 

8 On 14th of April, 1854, the Queen writes to Lord Aberdeen : We must all 
feel that we owe the settlement of these alarming difficulties to that great spirit 
of fairness, justice, and unflinching singleness of purpose, and rare unselfishness, 
M-hich so eminently distinguish our kind and valued friend Lord Aberdeen. 


4 The next party conflict in the House of Commons will 
be upon Finance. Gladstone wants to pay for the war out 
of current revenue, so long as he does not require more than 
ten millions sterling above the ordinary expenditure, and to 
increase the taxes for the purpose. The Opposition are for 
borrowing that is, increasing the debt and do not wish 
to impose in the meantime any further burdens on them 
selves. The former course is manly, statesmanlike, and 
honest, the latter is convenient, cowardly, perhaps popular. 
S"ous verrons ! 

Windsor Castle, 18th April, 1854. 

Mr. Gladstone brought forward his War Budget on the 
8th of May, by which he proposed to double the Income Tax, 
and by the returns from this source, and an increased duty 
on spirits and malt, to bring up the revenue to the level of 
what was required to meet the increased expenditure for the 
year. The country was prosperous, and manufacturers busy. 
Such is the vigour, and such the elasticity of our trade, 
said Mr. Gladstone, at the close of the masterly speech with 
which he introduced his Budget, that even under the dis 
advantage of a bad harvest, and under the pressure of war, 
the imports from day to day, and almost from hour to hour, 
are increasing, and the very last papers laid on the table 
show that within the last three months of the year there were 
250,000^. increase in your exports. To have shrunk in such 
propitious circumstances from charging upon the revenues of 
the year the abnormal expenditure caused by the war, would 
have been indeed cowardly, and the result proved that 
Mr. Gladstone had rightly understood the feeling of the 
country in appealing to them not to adopt this course. 


THE Debate in both Houses (31st March), on the Address in 
answer to Her Majesty s message, announcing the opening of 
war with Russia, was worthy of so great and solemn an 
occasion. Whatever differences existed as to the previous 
action of the Ministry were buried in the general determi 
nation to support them in carrying the struggle to a successful 
close. In the House of Commons the eloquence of Mr. Bright, 
proclaiming that his friends and himself regarded the war as 
neither just nor necessary, was listened to with unusual 
coldness, while the reply of Lord Palmerston, clear in its 
statement of the interests, national and European, which were 
at stake, and vibrating with the ring of patriotic feeling in 
which he was never wanting, was received with vehement 
cheers and welcomed throughout the country as a true echo 
of the national sentiment. 1 

By this time the gravity of the task on which we had 
embarked had begun to be in some measure appreciated ; but 
there was no disposition to look back or to shrink from the 
sacrifices with which alone the most sanguine now saw that 
success could be purchased. Before the debate began in the 
House of Lords, Lord Aberdeen stated, in reply to a question 
by the Earl of Roden, that it was proposed to set apart a Day 
of Humiliation and Prayer for the success of our arms by sea 

1 The Addresses were presented to the Queen on the 3rd of April, both 
Houses being represented by unusually large numbers. On this occasion the 
Prince of Wales took his place, for the first time, beside the Queen and Prince 
xipon the throne. 


and land. This led to the following letter (1st April) to 
Lord Aberdeen from the Queen : 


The Queen rejoices to see the debate was so favourable 
in the House of Lords, and that it was concluded in the 
House of Commons, 

6 fehe is rather startled at seeing Lord Aberdeen s answer 
to Lord Eoden upon the subject of a Day of Humiliation, as 
he has never mentioned the subject to her, and it is one 
upon which she feels strongly. The only thing the Queen 
ever heard about it was from the Duke of Newcastle, who 
suggested the possibility of an appropriate Prayer being 
introduced into the Liturgy, in which the Queen quite 
agreed ; but he was strongly against a Day of Humiliation, 
in which the Queen also entirely agreed, as she thinks we 
have recourse to them far too often, and they thereby lose 
all effect. The Queen therefore hopes that this will be 
reconsidered carefully, and a Prayer substituted for the Day 
of Humiliation. 

Were the services selected for these days of a different 
kind from what they are, the Queen would feel less strongly 
about it ; but they always select chapters from the Old 
Testament and Psalms, which are so totally inapplicable that 
all the effect such occasions ought to have is entirely done 
away with. Moreover, to say (as we probably should) that 
the great sin fulness of the -nation has brought about this war, 
when it is the selfishness and ambition and want of honesty 
of one man and his servants which has done it, while our 
conduct throughout has been actuated by unselfishness and 
honesty, would be too manifestly repulsive to the feelings of 
every one, and would be a mere bit of hypocrisy. Let there 
be a Prayer expressive of our great thankfulness for the 
immense benefits we have enjoyed, and for the immense 
prosperity of the country, and entreating God s help and 


protection in the coming struggle. In this the Queen 
would join heart and soul. If there is to be a day set apart, 
let it be for prayer in this sense. 

The tenor of precedents was adduced in answer to the 
remonstrances of Her Majesty against the name to be given 
to the day of national prayer ; and a few days later she recurs 
to the subject in writing to Lord Aberdeen : 

12th April, 1854. 

4 The Queen had meant to speak to Lord Aberdeen yester 
day about this day of " Prayer and Supplication," as she 
particularly wishes it should be called, and not " Fast and 
Humiliation," as after a calamity. Surely it should not be 
a day of mourning. The Queen spoke very strongly about 
it to the Archbishop, and urged great care in the selection 
of the service. Would Lord Aberdeen inculcate the Queen s 
wishes into the Archbishop s mind, that there be no Jewish 
imprecations against our enemies, &c., but an earnest 
expression of thankfulness to the Almighty for the immense 
blessings we have enjoyed, as well as of entreaty for protec 
tion of our forces by land and sea, and to ourselves in the 
coming struggle ? If Lord Aberdeen will look at the service 
to be used at sea, he will find a beautiful prayer, " To be 
used before a Fight at Sea," which the Queen thinks (as well 
as other portions of that fine service) would be very appli 
cable to the occasion, as there is no mention of the sea. 

The wish here so strongly expressed as to the character of 
the services to be used on the day of solemn Fast, Humiliation, 
and Prayer, was carried out. Like the beautiful prayer re 
ferred to by the Queen, they were conceived in the spirit of 
devout humility, which, while believing its quarrel to be just, 
places the issues of the struggle in His hands, who sitteth in 
the throne judging right, with the prayer that He will take 


the cause of the suppliants * into His own hand, and judge 
between them and their enemies. In this way they met the 
feelings of the nation, by whom the day (26th April) was 
observed, not in form merely, but with the seriousness be 
fitting a nation on the eve of a conflict in which momentous 
issues were at stake, and by which the happiness of many 
homes was certain to be darkened. 2 

Linked as the reigning families of Europe are by the ties 
of affinity or marriage, an European war, by the disturbance 
of many friendly personal relations, brings private sorrows to 
their members, in addition to those which they suffer in 
common with their subjects. Correspondence is either 
broken off, or continued only on the footing that topics 
are never touched, which yet are known to be uppermost in 
the writers minds. The Prince s stepmother, the Dowager 
Duchess of Coburg, was the daughter of Duke Alexander of 
Wiirtemberg, brother of the Emperor of Russia s mother, and 
had been born and brought up in Russia. Naturally her 
sympathies were with the Russians, and for some time the 
Prince s letters to her had been less numerous than usual. 
On resuming his correspondence with her, he thus clears 
himself of the embarrassment, which the difference in their 
political sympathies might otherwise have occasioned : 

( . . . Since I last wrote, he says, the wicked world has 
gone deeper into wrangling and strife, and war is now formally 
declared, and will be formally begun. I feel for you, for I can 
understand and forgive your heart for being Russian. All I 
ask in return is that you will grant me your forgiveness, that 

2 The day was also kept with great solemnity in our North- American 
colonies. In the "West Indies a day was also devoted to the same object, and 
in India the 16th of July was set apart for the same purpose by the inhabi 
tants, both European and native, and observed with such unanimity and 
fervour, that the Government acknowledged in a public document its satisfac 
tion at the general manifestation of loyalty and attachment. 


mine is exactly the reverse, and that it even anticipates the 
just punishment of Heaven upon the Emperor for the em 
broilment into which he has thrown Europe by his wilfulness 
and obstinacy ! This much I will say to vindicate my own 
honour : for the future I will hold my peace, and not allow 
the strife, which unhappily has already caused so much 
misery in the world, to intrude with its disquieting conse 
quences into the unity, love, and peace of our family also, as 
I have, I grieve to say, already seen it do in many families. 

< If there were a Germany and a German Sovereign in 
Berlin, it could never have happened. 

Buckingham Palace. 28th April, 1854. 

How strongly the Prince felt as to the conduct of the 
King of Prussia, his letters have already shown. His feeling 
of indignation was deepened by every fresh report which 
reached him of the state of things in Berlin. The King 
allowed himself to be a mere tool in the hands of Russia, 
and, in concert with the Princes of the smaller kingdoms of 
Clermany, was doing his utmost to paralyse the action of 
Austria, who had shown a disposition to take an active part 
on the side of the Western Powers. 

The dominant influence of Russian counsels was soon 
afterwards made apparent by the dismissal from the King s 
service of all the men Bunsen, General Bonin and others 
who had made themselves obnoxious to the Czar by their 
known antagonism to his policy in Turkey. These changes 
were effected by the King without communication with the 
Crown Prince his brother, to whom they were so distasteful 
that he left Berlin for Baden-Baden, urging the necessities 
of his health as a reason. 3 On the rumour false, as after- 

a The King of Prussia, feeling that some explanation of such conduct, at a 
time when he professed the warmest friendship for England, was due to this 
country, wrote to the Queen (24th May), at very great length, to justify his 


wards appeared that the Crown Prince had been deprived 
of his command, to which this incident gave rise, reaching 
the Prince, he wrote (13th May) to Baron Stockmar: The 
news has just reached me that the Prince has been deprived 
of his command, and that the Eussian party do not despair 
of bringing about a rupture between Prussia and France, 
and of Eussia engaging Germany on her side? Will the 
Lord show long suffering for ever, and not at once send 
down his thunderbolts from heaven ? 

The Baron had correspondents in Berlin, who kept him 
well informed of the intrigues which were on foot at the 
Court there. Eeplying to one of his letters, in which he had 
forwarded some important details which had reached him 
through this channel, the Prince writes : 

Your letter of the 16th, with its enclosure, has reached 
me safely. I am very grateful to you for this contribution 
of materials towards an accurate estimate of the present 
most perplexing and critical aspect of affairs. I have let 
Lord Clarendon also have a peep into this abyss. I cannot 
sufficiently praise him in this affair for his unremitting 
exertions and his friendly way of conducting business. 
Without his restless activity and temperate and conciliatory 
spirit, the different unthankful elements would never have 

proceedings. From the reply of Her Majesty we translate one passage : 
One thing only there is which forces me to speak out my heart to yon, and it 
is this that the men with whom you have broken were loyal, truthful ser 
vants, devoted to you with no ordinary warmth of attachment; and who, by 
the freedom and independence of spirit with which they urged their opinions 
with your Majesty, have given proof, not to legainsaycd. that what alone they 
Imd in view was, not their personal advantage or their sovereign s favour, but 
only his true interest and welfare. And if such men as these a loving 
brother among them, a prince noble and chivalrous to the core (durch und 
durcli), and nearest to the throne have felt themselves constrained to part from 
you at a momentous crisis, this is a serious symptom, which may well give Your 
Majesty occasion to take counsel with yourself, and to test with anxious care 
whether the hidden source of evils, past and present, may not perhaps be found 
in Your Majesty s own views. 


been kept together, so that things have been carried on in 
a way that is upon the whole homogeneous and consistent. 

The best possible understanding exists with the Emperor 
Napoleon III., and yet his policy, which is composed of con 
tinual and frequently dangerous impulses, has constantly 
to be checked and brought back to a definite channel. We 
have not up to this time had a moment s cause to complain 
of Austria, and I think that, with the friendly views of 
France and England towards her, she has regained some 
confidence in herself, and that the foundation for a franker 
policy is being laid. 

* I have hanging over me a speech in the City on the occasion 
of the Bicentenary Jubilee Festival of the Sons of the Clergy. 

Windsor Castle, 24th April, 1854. 

The speech, which the Prince here mentions as hanging 
over him, was delivered at the Merchant Taylors Hall on the 
10th of May. It was a model of an after-dinner speech, 
going straight to the point, and enforcing its appeal upon 
one leading principle, and in the fewest words. On such an 
occasion, to be original without effort is no easy task. But 
by touching on one distinctive and important feature of the 
Protestant Church, the Prince contrived ingeniously to pre 
pare his audience for his argument that a clergy, who had 
to bear the burdens of family life, but to whom the pursuit 
of wealth was denied, had a strong claim upon the sympathy 
and liberality of the community at large : 

When our ancestors, he said, purified the Christian faith, and 
shook off the yoke of a domineering Priesthood, they felt that the 
keystone of that wonderful fabric which had grown up in the 
dark times of the middle ages was the Celibacy of the Clergy, and 
shrewdly foresaw that their reformed faith and newly-won 
religious liberty would, on the contrary, only be secure in the 
hands of a clergy united with the people by every sympathy, 
national, personal, and domestic. 


* Gentlemen, this nation has enjoyed for three hundred years 
the blessing of a Church Establishment which rests upon this 
basis, and cannot be too grateful for the advantages afforded by 
the fact that the Christian Ministers not only preach the doctrines 
of Christianity, but live among their congregations an example for 
the discharge of every Christian duty, as husbands, fathers, and 
masters of families, themselves capable of fathoming the whole 
depth of human feelings, desires, and difficulties. 

A tribute to the personal popularity of the Prince was paid 
in the fact, that the unusually large sum of 12,500. was 
subscribed on the occasion. 

Three days afterwards (13th May) the Queen had the 
pleasure of giving the Prince s name to one of the finest 
vessels which had hitherto been constructed for her Navy. 
( On Saturday morning we went to Woolwich, says Her 
Majesty, in writing to King Leopold, where we witnessed, 
amid thousands and thousands of spectators, the launch of 
the Royal Albert (sister ship to the famed Duke of Wel 
lington)^ 120 guns and 272 feet in length. I christened her, 
and it was a moving sight to see this immense creature 
glide into the water amidst the deafening cheers, bearing 
dearest Albert s likeness. 4 

It was characteristic of the Prince s energy, that the same 
day, as appears by his Diary, he went with Lord Hardinge 
and Sir John Burgoyne by train to GKiildford, and thence on 

4 The first service on which this fine vessel was employed was in carrying 
ont reinforcements to the Crimea after the battle of Inkermann. In a letter 
(24th May) to the Queen from her sister, this passage occurs: I read the 
description in the papers yesterday of the launch of the Royal Albert, and your 
christening it. What a beautiful sight it must have been ! Indeed, my dearest 
Victoria, I can quite understand your wishing to have a son in the navy just 
now, because I feel so proud of having one there, notwithstanding all the 
dangers he may be exposed to. What is life worth, if you cannot spend and 
exert the strength God has given you for a great cause, or on behalf of man 
kind ? It is this conviction which I have always endeavoiired to instil into the 
.hearts of my children, because it is the ever vibrating nerve in my own soul 
which keeps me alive. 



horseback to Aldershot Common, over which they rode for 
three hours, arriving at the conclusion that it would afford 
an admirable site for the permanent camp, which the 
Prince had long set his heart on seeing established. A few 
days later (19th May) he started early in the morning with 
Lord Derby, Mr. Sidney Herbert, and Colonel Talbot, and 
spent several hours in examining some ground near Epsom 
Downs, which had been proposed as the site for the Wellington 
College, but was subsequently found to be inferior to that 
near Sandhurst, which was adopted in the following October. 
In the afternoon he presided at a meeting of the Fine Arts 
Commission, and in the evening went to hear the Cologne 
Choir, which he mentions as being quite admirable. 

Like all busy men, the Prince seems to have found more 
time to see and hear things which may be regarded as re 
creation than those who have most leisure at their command. 
As we turn over the brief entries of his Diary for this month, 
the evidence of this forces itself upon us. 

The war had immensely increased the graver demands 
upon his attention. Not a detail in connection with either 
army or navy escaped him. He knew to a man the strength 
of both forces, where they were, how equipped, and for 
what they could be made available. The despatches to 
and from abroad were more numerous than usual, and the 
pressure of his correspondence, always great, had grown 
heavier than ever. One day brings tidings of the bombard 
ment of Odessa, another the unwelcome news of the Tiger 
being taken by the Russians, and all its crew made prisoners ; 
another, that English and French troops have to march upon 
Athens to compel the King to hold his hand from assailing 
Turkey. The dismissal of General Bonin, the Prussian War 
Minister, is noted a few days afterwards as ( a very bad sign, 
and the negotiations between Austria and Prussia, who have 
just executed a secret treaty, cause no small anxiety, which is, 


however, relieved by the frank explanations of the Austrian 
Emperor to the Duke of Cambridge, who had taken Vienna 
on his way to the East. On the 9th Mr. Gladstone brings 
forward his Budget an occasion made more anxious than 
usual by the fact that he had to ask for six millions of ad 
ditional taxes. These, however, were granted cheerfully in 
answer to what the Prince notes as a very remarkable 
speech (eine ausgezeichnete Rede). Lord Cowley, over 
for a few days from Paris, and Sir Hamilton Seymour, 
just returned from St. Petersburg, have each to be seen, 
and the precious information at their command elicited 
by that skilful questioning of which the Prince was a 
master. Silistria is besieged by the Kussians in such force, 
that the Prince seems to have shared the general opinion, 
afterwards to be so splendidly confuted by the gallantry 
of the Turks, under the guidance of two young English offi 
cers (Captain Butler and Lieutenant Nasmyth), that it must 
surrender. Marshal St. Arnaud has begun to grow trouble 
some by setting up a claim to the supreme command of the 
Allied forces, and has to be brought to reason. Bunsen, 
the valued and intimate friend of many years, with whose 
services the King of Prussia has dispensed, and who is the 
bearer of a letter of eighteen closely-written pages from his 
Sovereign to the Queen, 5 has to be seen, and the grave 
aspect of affairs at Berlin to be discussed with him. But 
preoccupied although the Prince necessarily was with such 
incidents as these, he found time to preside more than once 
during the month at the meetings of the Eoyal Commission, 
to hear Faraday lecture at the Royal Institution on Mental 
Education, to inspect the works of the students of the 
School of Design at Grore House, and to be present at soirees 
given by Lord Eoss to the Royal Society, and by Lord de 

5 The letter referred to in the note, p. 62 ante, 
v 2 


Grey to the Society of British Architects, where he threw 
himself heart and soul into the study of the inventions and 
designs which formed the attraction of these meetings, as 
though science and art were the sole subject of his thoughts. 

Nor were the anxieties of the month wholly unrelieved 
by social gaieties. On Prince Arthur s birthday ( 1st of May) 
two hundred children were made happy at a ball at Buck 
ingham Palace, to which Lord Aberdeen, who had little to 
cheer him in the heavy responsibilities of his office, received 
the following graceful invitation from the Queen : Though 
the Queen cannot send Lord Aberdeen a card for a child s 
bal^ perhaps he may not disdain coming for a short while to 
see a number of happy little people, including some of his 
grandchildren, enjoying themselves. On the 12th, marking 
the value attached to the French Alliance, the Queen and 
Prince were present for some hours at a bal costume given 
by Count Walewski, the French Ambassador, an honour for 
which the Count was profuse in his expressions of acknow 
ledgment. The ball, the Prince notes, was very brilliant, 
ind the costumes most beautiful. A great ball, to which 
1 ,800 guests were invited, took place at Buckingham Palace 
on the 1 7th, and the Prince records, as the main incident of 
a Royal concert given a few nights before, that Lablache 
sang for the first time in England for two years. 

The Queen s birthday (24th), which was spent at Osborne, 
was made memorable to the Royal children by their having 
given over to them the Swiss Cottage, which had been erected 
there partly for their pastime and partly for instruction in 
little household duties, and to which a Museum of Natural 
History was attached, while beside it were little garden 
plots allotted to each, where they were expected to make 
themselves practically acquainted with the simpler elements 
of garden culture. 

On the 21st of June the Prince had to preside at the Trinity 


House dinner, and records that of twenty-three speeches made 
on the occasion no fewer than eight devolved upon himself. 
All were good ; but that which introduced the toast of the 
Army and Navy was especially so. No man in England was 
better qualified to estimate the difficulties of the enterprise 
in which our army and navy were embarked, and knowing, 
as he did, the impatience with which results were sure to be 
looked for by the public, he took occasion to indicate what 
these difficulties were in proposing the toast of the two 
Services : 

* The toast, he said, of the Array and Navy of Great Britain 
will be drank by you with peculiar emotions at this time. As 
your eyes are turned towards these Services, your hearts beat 
for them, and with their success the welfare and the honour of 
the country are so intimately bound up. They will do their 
duty as they have always done, and may the Almighty bless 
their efforts ! What is asked to be achieved by them in this 
instance is a task of inordinate difficulty, not only from the 
nature and climate of the country in which they are fighting, but 
also from the peculiarity of the enemy to whom they are opposed, 
as it may so happen that the army may meet a foe of ten times 
its number, whilst the fleet may find it impossible to meet one at 
all. All these difficulties, however, may be considered as com 
pensated by the goodness of our cause, " the vindication of the 
public law of Europe," and the fact that we have fighting by our 
side a Power, the military prowess and vigour of which we have 
hitherto chiefly known from the severity of long and anxious 
contests. If there be a contest between us now, it will be one 
of emulation, and not of enmity. 

This well-timed statement of the object of the war, which 
was not the maintenance of the Turkish Empire for its own 
sake, but the vindication of the public law of Europe, was 
less necessary then than it subsequently became. Still 
there was a party who forgot, in their disgust at Turkish 
misrule, the larger issues which were at stake ; and it was 
desirable to keep these prominently before the public mind. 


Indeed had it not been felt that they involved something far 
more important to England and to Europe than the duration 
of an effete dynasty, the determination to prosecute the war 
to a successful issue could not have been sustained through 
the long months of anxiety and loss and gigantic struggle, 
by which the triumph of right against lawless aggression 
was ultimately to be vindicated. 

This was the first time the Prince had presided over the 
Elder Brethren since the important alterations in the consti 
tution of their body which had been effected by Parliament 
in the previous year. To his wise counsels it had been 
mainly due, that the necessary reforms had been ungrudgingly 
accepted by them ; while, at the same time, by the care he 
had taken in his negotiations on their behalf, while surren 
dering to the Government the power of levying dues, 
which the Trinity House had previously possessed, they 
retained their independence and powers of administration 
unimpaired. It was therefore with perfect truth that he 
was able to congratulate them on the working of these 
alterations, as a successful attempt at that difficult and nice 
operation to bring the spontaneous activity of a public body 
into harmony with the general feelings of the country, as 
represented in its Government, without destroying all in 
dividual and organic life by the killing influence of an arbi 
trary mechanical centralisation, 6 

Meanwhile all eyes were directed towards the Danube, 

6 To this hour the invaluable services of the Prince to the Trinity House in 
the year 1853 are warmly recognised. In a letter from the Secretary of the 
Board (4th January, 1877) now before us, he says : It is a great happiness to 
us that the wise " sailing directions" then laid down for us have since enabled 
us (although the navigation is at times difficult and critical) to avoid alike the 
Scylla of irresponsibility and the Charybdis of losing our corporate identity ; 
and I may add that we continue to be deeply indebted, in the arduous task 
known in this keen world as " holding one s own," to the moral support which 
has apparently become a tradition in the Royal family, from, doubtless, in the 
first instance, the Prince s gracious and illustrious example. 


where the resistance of the Turks to the assaults of the 
superior Russian forces had excited equal surprise and ad 
miration. The whole efforts of the Russian generals were 
now concentrated on the siege of Silistria ; and, just when 
the tidings of its fall were looked for as a matter of certainty, 7 
came the news of repulse after repulse inflicted upon immense 
masses of the besiegers. After the English and French 
army had reached Constantinople, it was felt by our Cabinet 
that the fall of Silistria would produce a bad effect both at 
the seat of war and throughout Europe. They therefore 
were urgent for a movement of English and French troops 
in support of Omar Pasha, with the view of raising the siege. 
From Silistria itself came the strongest representations, that 
it must fall, unless relieved by the Allied forces ; but Lord 
Raglan found it impossible, for want of the means of land 
transport, to move any portion of his troops from Varna for 
the purpose. When, therefore, the tidings reached him that 
on the 22nd of June the siege had been raised, and that the 
Russians were in full retreat, having lost upwards of 12.000 
men in their unsuccessful assaults on the works, no one was 
more surprised than himself. All the accounts from the English 
officers at both Schumla and Silistria had represented that it 
was impossible for the Turks to hold out many days longer, and 
lie opened the despatch from Omar Pasha which announced 
the retreat of the Russians from Silistria, fully expecting to 
find in it the particulars of its fall. 

A crushing defeat of the Russians under General Soimonoff 8 
at Giurgevo, on the 7th of July, was soon afterwards followed 
by the retirement of their whole forces beyond the Pruth. 

7 Thus, on the 28th of May, the Duke of Newcastle regrets to inform Her 
Majesty that by a telegram received this day from Belgrade, dated yesterdny, 
half-past one o clock, P.M., the Turkish garrison of Silistria was about to sur 
render : the terms of capitulation stem ro be " assez honoraUes " for the Turks. 

8 General Soimonoff was killed at Inkern:ann on the oth November fol 


The invasion of the Principalities was now practically at 
an end, and the dreaded name of the Czar had been shorn of 
its prestige by the valour of the Turks, whom he had affected 
to despise. 

The precipitate movement of his forces across the Pruth 
was no doubt accelerated, in some measure, by the fact that 
Austria had followed up the Czar s refusal to evacuate the 
Principalities upon her summons, by concluding a Conven 
tion (14th June) with the Porte. In pursuance of its terms 
she was now moving a large and well-disciplined army into 
the Principalities, for the purpose of restoring the state of 
things which had existed there previous to the Russian in 
vasion. With the Austrians on their right flank, and the 
Allied forces on their left, and confronted by the considerable 
forces now accumulated under the command of Omar Pasha, 
the position of the Russian army in the Principalities had 
become no longer tenable. But though driven back into his 
own territory, the Western Powers had no reason to believe 
that the Czar was prepared to abate one jot of his preten 
sions to the protectorate, civil and religious, of the Greek 
Christians in Turkey, which had been the proximate and 
ostensible cause of the war. In fact, the despatch of Count 
Nesselrode to Prince Grortschakoff (17th June\ which em 
bodied the reply to the Austrian summons, placed this 
beyond a doubt. The private intelligence also, which readied 
the Cabinets of the West from St. Petersburg, represented 
the Czar as counting somewhat on the anxiety of Europe for 
peace, to enable him to secure it on easy terms ; while, if 
forced to carry on the war, he had declared that he would do 
so for twenty years if necessary, and that he should in the end 
weary out Europe even if it were all united against him. 9 

But if such was the warlike temper of the Russian autocrat, 
not less were the Western Powers determined to put his 

9 Despatch from Lori Bloomfield to Lord Clarendon, Berlin, 7th July, 1854. 


vaunted powers of endurance to the test. Austria and 
Prussia, indeed, might have been well pleased to negotiate 
for peace on the footing of the status quo ante bellum ; and 
the States of the Diet, ever prone to support Russia as a 
friend on whom they could rely for resistance to their ab 
sorption in an United Germany, had very plainly indicated 
that this was their view of the basis for a peace. But 
neither the Grovernment nor people of Great Britain were 
minded to close the struggle without securing Europe against 
the hazard of being again plunged into a similar conflict by 
the renewal of the same pretensions. 

The public feeling on the subject found expression in a 
speech of Lord Lyndhurst in the House of Lords on the 
19th of June, a speech which must at all times have been 
remarkable for the luminous force of its statements, the 
logical vigour of its deductions, the noble rhetoric, which, 
while it quickened the listeners blood, also captivated their 
understanding, but which was especially remarkable as a 
display of intellectual energy by a man in his eighty-second 
year. His argument that Russia had shown by her faithless 
ness and treachery, that it was idle to make engagements 
with her, was received with enthusiasm by men little given 
to the display of feeling. Cheers followed cheers, as the 
old man eloquent denounced a long career of successful 
perfidy in passages like these : 

Look, he said, at her whole conduct, and then, if any person 
can be credulous enough to trust in any statement of Russia, or 
in any engagement into which she may enter contrary to her own 
interests, all I can say is, that I admire the extent of his faith. Let 
me recall to your lordships recollection what took place at St. 
Petersburg. . . . Sir. H. Seymour heard that Russian troops 
were being collected on the Russian frontier : he was satisfied with 
his authority, and he mentioned the circumstance to Count 
Nesselrode. The Count contradicted the statement : he said to 
Sir H. Seymour: " Do not believe what you hear; believe only 


what you see : all that is taking place is only a change in the 
position of Our armies, which is usual at this season of the year. 
I assure you, you are mistaken. . . ." Is this the system, and 
are these the persons on whose assurances we are to depend. . . . ? 

When the interests of millions are at stake, when the liber 
ties of mankind are at issue, away with confidence. Confidence 
generally ends in credulity. This is true of statesmen as of 
individuals. jVTy lords, the history of Russia, from the estab 
lishment of the empire down to the present moment, is a history 
of fraud, duplicity, trickery, artifice, and violence. The present 
Emperor has proclaimed himself protector of the Greek Church in 
Turkey, just as the Empress Catherine declared herself protector 
of the Greek Church in Poland. By means of that protectorate 
she fomented dissensions and stirred up political strife in the 
country. She then marched into Poland under the pretence of 
allaying tumults, and stripped the kingdom of some of its 
fairest provinces. We know the ultimate result ; it is too familiar 
to require more particular reference. 

Look at another instance of Russian policy of more recent 
occurrence. Russia agreed to a treaty with Turkey, by which 
she recognised the independence of the Crimea. Nevertheless 
she stirred up insurrections in that country, under the old pre 
tence of protecting one party against another, and when the 
opportunity offered, she sent Suwaroff, one of her most barbarous 
Generals, into the Crimea, who murdered the inhabitants and 
despoiled them of their territory, while a line of Russian ships 
invested the coast and cut off all communication with Constan 
tinople. At the very moment when this was being done, Russia 
was not only at peace with Turkey, but was actually negotiating 
a treaty of commerce with her. . . . Russia has doubled her 
European territories within the last fifty years, and yet she is bent 
on possessing herself of Khiva. The loss of two armies does 
not deter her from prosecuting this purpose, although the place 
cannot be of the slightest value to her, except as affording her the 
means of annoying us in respect to our Eastern possessions. In 
this way does Russia go on for ever. Take the most recent in 
stance. While Nicholas was pretending to act the part of pro 
tector of Turkey, and trying to cajole the Sultan with professions 
of friendship and esteem, he was at the time planning the partition 
of his empire. This is the Emperor with whom you are now 


dealing, and on whose statements and representations we are to 

More to the same effect followed, leading up to the con 
clusion, that if any engagement were to be made with 
Russia, England must take material guarantees for its ful 

But then my noble friend opposite may say, What course would 
you pursue ? What is your policy ? My reply is, that this will 
depend a good deal on the events of the war. This, however, 
I unhesitatingly declare, that in no event, except that of ex 
treme necessity, ought we to make peace without previously 
destroying the Russian fleet in the Black Sea, and laying pros 
trate the fortifications by which it is defended. 

Prolonged cheering hailed the venerable speaker when he 
sat do\vn, having closed one of even his finest speeches with 
the words 

My lords, I feel strongly on this subject, and I believe that 
if this barbarous nation, this enemy of all progress except that 
which tends to strengthen and consolidate its own power, this 
state which punishes education as a crime, should once succeed in 
establishing itself in the heart of Europe, it would be the greatest 
calamity that could befall the human race. 

Lord Clarendon followed, and his language made it clear 
to all, that if the Government were silent as to the terms of 
peace to which they looked forward, their silence was not due 
to any want of will to curtail the dangerous predominance of 
Russian force, or to check her policy of selfish aggrandisement. 
All Europe, were his closing words, is not to be disturbed, 
great interests are not to be injured, the people are not to 
have fresh burdens imposed upon them, great social and com 
mercial relations are not to be abruptly torn asunder, and all 
the greatest Powers of Europe are not to be united in arms 
for an insignificant result. 


Had the debate ended here all would have been well. 
Lord Derby, however, rose after Lord Clarendon, and pro 
nounced a vehement philippic, which was little more than 
an echo of what had been better said by Lord Lyndhurst. 
Stung by the implied reproaches of both these brilliant 
orators, that the Government were disposed to deal slackly 
with the enterprise they had in hand, and possibly feeling 
that their language might make it more difficult, by alarming 
the other European Powers, for England and France to carry 
these Powers along with them. Lord Aberdeen was tempted 
to reply. The tone of his statement seemed peculiarly cold 
after the passionate eloquence of former speakers. Knowing 
himself to be as solicitous as they could be for an effective 
peace, but also knowing, as they could not know, how hedged 
about with difficulty the position of the Government was, a 
want of heartiness in the cause for which English blood was 
now up at fever heat seemed to weigh down his words. 
Even this might have escaped censure, had he not tried to 
mitigate Lord Lyndhurst s denunciations of Russian en 
croachments. The ex-Chancellor had gone beyond the fact 
in alleging that they had enabled the Czars to double their 
European territory within the last fifty years. But though 
exaggerated, the general charge was true; and it was idle 
in Lord Aberdeen to attempt, as he did, to vindicate the 
systematic aggressions of years by calling attention to the 
fact that, although the Russians were within twenty miles 
of Constantinople in 1829, they had not made the surrender 
to themselves of any Turkish territory in Europe a condition 
of their accepting the treaty of Adrianople. Only by that 
fatuity which upon occasion overtakes even the most judi 
cious, was it possible to account for this inopportune refe 
rence to a treaty, which Lord Aberdeen in the same sentence 
denounced as disastrous. 

The mischievous effect which it produced was soon ap- 


parent. Lord Aberdeen s words were laid hold of, as giving 
countenance to the charge, thoroughly unjust in itself, but 
which not merely the adversaries of the Government, but 
some of its own members, had been at pains to keep constantly 
before the public, that the war was coldly prosecuted by the 
First Minister of the Crown, and that he had been dragged 
into it against his will. So general, indeed, was the dis 
satisfaction, that Mr. Layard gave notice in the House of 
Commons a few nights afterwards (23rd June), of a motion 
4 that in the opinion of this House, the language held by the 
First Minister of the Crown was calculated to raise grave 
doubts in the public mind as to the objects and results of 
the present war, and to lessen the prospect of an honourable 
and durable peace. 

The Government would not have been sorry to join issue 
with their opponents on this motion, where they would have 
been sure of a victory ; for as Lord Aberdeen said, writing to 
the Queen (24th June), after the various defeats of the 
Government, it is most essential that an opportunity should 
be found of testing the real feelings of the House of Com 
mons. But he felt it was necessary, for his own sake, that 
he should remove the misapprehensions created by his speech, 
and in the same letter he announced that he had given 
notice of a motion for the purpose. To this communication 
Her Majesty replied : 

26th June, 1851. 

The Queen is very glad to hear that Lord Aberdeen will 
take an opportunity to-day of dispelling misapprehensions 
which have arisen in the public mind in consequence of his 
last speech in the House of Lords, and the effect of which 
has given the Queen very great uneasiness. She knows Lord 
Aberdeen so well, that she can fully enter into his feelings, 
and understand what he means ; but the public, particularly 


under strong ejspitement of patriotic feeling, is impatient 
and annoyed to hear at this moment the First Minister of the 
Crown enter into an impartial examination of the Emperor 
of Eussia s character and conduct. 

4 The qualities in Lord Aberdeen s character, which the 
Queen values most highly, his candour and his courage in 
expressing opinions, even if opposed to general feelings at 
the moment, are in this instance dangerous to him, and the 
Q.ueen hopes that in the vindication of his own conduct to 
day, which ought to be triumphant, as it wants in fact no 
vindication, he will not undertake the ungrateful and 
injurious task of vindicating the Emperor of Eussia from 
any of the exaggerated charges brought against him and his 
policy, at a time when there is enough in that policy to make 
us fight with all our might against it. 

Lord Aberdeen introduced his statement by moving for a 
copy of a Despatch written by himself to Lord Heytesbury on 
the 31st October, 1829, with respect to the Treaty of Adria- 
nople, then recently concluded. The portions of this Despatch 
which he read were sufficient to prove that he considered 
the concessions obtained by Eussia under that Treaty, though 
not of territory, were, by the political influence which they 
gave her over Turkey, really more disastrous to that country s 
independence, and ultimately to the peace of Europe, than 
a partial loss of territory would have been : 

Exception, he said, * has been taken to some expressions of 
mine, as if I expressed doubt or disbelief of any danger from 
Russian aggression. Now I wish here to say that I entertain 
the greatest alarm as to Russian aggression against Turkey. 
Against that aggression in any shape whether in the shape of 
influence, of conquest, or otherwise we are prepared to protect 
her. But with respect to Russian aggression upon Europe, in 
dependently of her designs upon Turkey, I certainly did express 
no great alarm, because I feel none. If Russia, indeed, could be 


supposed to have made good her aggression upon Turkey, and 
to be in possession of Constantinople, then indeed I should feel 
alarmed, because I think she would then acquire the means of 
becoming formidable and dangerous to Europe. . . . Danger 
from Russia to Europe appears to me mainly, if not entirely, to 
depend upon her power in Turkey and in the East. If that 
power be checked, then I cannot think that there need be any 
very great alarm as to what she may do to Austria, or Prussia, 
or France, or England. This, however much it may have been 
misunderstood, was really all I meant to express as to my general 
disbelief in any danger from Russian aggression. 

The general views developed by Lord Aberdeen in his short 
statesmanlike speech were so thoroughly in accord with those 
of all moderate men, that he had no difficulty in setting him 
self right, both with the House of Lords and with the public. 
Passing over the outrageous attacks upon his sincerity 
and patriotism, to which he had for some time been per 
sistently subjected, with the remark that he should feel 
degraded by condescending to enter into details on accu 
sations so absurd and improbable, he explained his attitude 
with reference to the war in words which, for the time., 
silenced even his opponents : 

It is true, my lords, that I have, perhaps more than any other 
man in this country, struggled to maintain a state of peace. I 
have done so, because I thought it a duty to the people of this 
country, a duty to God and man, first to exhaust every possible 
measure to obtain peace before we engaged in war. I may own, 
though I trust my conscience acquits me of not having done the 
utmost, that I only regret not having done enough, or lest I 
may have lost some possible means of averting what I consider 
the greatest calamity that can befall a country. It has been 
said that my desire for peace unfits me to make war ; but how 
and why do I wish to make war ? I wish to make war in order 
to obtain peace, and no weapon that can be used in war can make 
the war so sure and speedy, and attain peace, as to make that 
war with the utmost vigour and determination. 


Only one Peer, Lord Clanricarde, was found, after this 
statement, to renew the old charge of pusillanimity against 
the Premier, but the elaborate distortion of facts by which 
the accusation was supported, made more conspicuous by the 
personal rancour which inspired it, was not calculated to 
awaken any response in such an arena. The result was that, 
as Lord Aberdeen wrote the same evening to the Queen, it was 
very coldly received throughout, and ended without a single 
cheer. For Mr. Layard to have persisted in his motion after 
Lord Aberdeen s explanation would have been to court defeat, 
and he accordingly withdrew it. 

In his reply to Lord Lyndhurst, Lord Aberdeen had 
alluded with some bitterness to what had fallen from him as 
to the necessity for razing the fortifications of Sebastopol. 
My noble and learned friend, he had said, has given the 
Emperor due notice that he had better lose no time in forti 
fying Sebastopol, and I daresay His Majesty the Emperor 
will follow my noble and learned friend s advice. It may 
have flashed across his mind, that the allusion had been 
prompted by private information, that at this very moment 
the Cabinet were not at one upon the expediency of an 
attack upon Sebastopol expediency, that is to say, with 
reference to the chances of success, not with reference to the 
object itself. From the outset of the war it had been generally 
foreseen, that to succeed there would be to strike at the basis 
of Eussia s power to endanger the peace of Europe. So early 
as the 14th of March the Duke of Newcastle sent to the Queen 
the copy of a plan which had been sketched by the French 
Emperor for military operations in the East, in which he 
suggested that Sebastopol should be attacked. This plan, 
the Duke stated, had been approved by Lord Raglan, Lord 
de Eos, Lord Clarendon and himself. But, looked at more 
closely, it was found to be beyond the resources at the dis 
posal of the Allied Powers in the early part of the campaign, 

1854 DECIDED UPON. 81 

and whilst the safety of Constantinople was still in jeopardy. 
But the recent turn of events had revived the idea ; and by 
the 28th of June it was so far matured and adopted by the 
Ministry as a body, that the draft of the instructions to 
Lord Eaglan which led to the expedition was submitted by 
the Duke of Newcastle on that day to a meeting of the 
Cabinet. This meeting was held at Lord Russell s house, Pem 
broke Lodge, 10 and in writing to the Queen next morning, 
Lord Aberdeen says : 

The Cabinet assembled yesterday evening at Lord John 
Russell s at Richmond, and continued to a very late hour. A 
draft of instructions to Lord Raglan had been prepared by the 
Duke of Newcastle, in which the necessity o a prompt attack 
upon Sebastopol and the Russian fleet was strongly urged. The 
amount of force now assembled at Varna, and in the neigh 
bourhood, appeared to be amply sufficient to justify such an enter 
prise with the assistance of the English and French fleets. But 
although the expedition to the Crimea was pressed very warmly, 

10 This is the meeting which Mr. Kinglake has enlivened his brilliant 
narrative by describing as if the airy chamber in which it was held had been 

A pleasing land of drowsyhead, 
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye, 

to the influence of which a body of remarkable men, met to decide on a ques 
tion of momentous importance to the nation, were in some strange way forced 
to succumb (Invasion of the Crimea, 6th ed. vol. ii. p. 249, and note, p. 407). 
That the Duke of Newcastle, not flattered perhaps by the listless attention 
paid by some of his friends to his very ably written Despatch, should have 
mentioned the incident is natural ; but the purport of that Despatch having been 
settled, according to Mr. Kinglake s own admission (ibid. p. 410), by the 
Cabinet the day before with anxious care and attention, the document was 
not likely under any circumstances to provoke discussion. If, then, a few of 
the overworked members of the Cabinet succumbed to the soothing monotones 
of the Duke of Newcastle, why discr^ditthe Cabinet by suggesting that the terms 
of the Despatch only escaped challenge, because all its members, except a small 
minority, were asleep ? It is not even hinted, that of those who then slept 
the sleep of the weary, Lord Aberdeen was one, and he at least saw nothing 
in the Despatch to fetter the discretion of the responsible leaders of the Allied 
forces, which Mr. Kinglake, upon the weighty authority of Lord Eaglan, 
maintains that it did. The Despatch itself, with the private letter to Lord 
Raglan which preceded it, are printed by Mr. Kinglake (vol. ii. cap. xvi.). 



and recommended to be undertaken with the least possible delay, 
the final decision was left to the judgment and discretion of Lord 
Raglan and Marshal St. Arnaud, after they should have communi 
cated with Omar Pasha. 

It is now known, upon the authority of Lord Eaglan him 
self, that he did not consider that the terms of this Despatch 
left the final decision in his hands. Soldiers naturally 
judge such matters very differently from civilians, for upon 
them the point of honour presses more keenly. While, 
therefore, the language of the Despatch will probably be held 
by most people to fairly justify the view expressed by Lord 
Aberdeen, it is nevertheless the fact, that Lord Raglan re 
garded it as little short of an absolute order from the Secre 
tary of State, and as such ( determined to obey it. 

That the disappointment at home would have been 
great had it been otherwise, is certain. Impatient as the 
country had become at the comparative inaction of the 
Allied forces, people were not disposed to listen to the 
cautious counsels of those who urged delay, until some 
certain information could be procured as to the strength of 
the defences of Sebastopol and the forces which would have 
to be encountered in the Crimea. Lord Raglan was well 
aware of this. He knew also, how completely the feeling was 
shared by the Emperor of the French, for before his Despatch 
left England, the Duke of Newcastle was in possession of a 
copy of a letter to Lord Cowley (28th June) in which the 
Emperor wrote : J avais deja prevenu la pensee du 
gouvernement Anglais, en ordonnant a St.-Arnaud que si 
les Russes se retireraient, il fallait prendre la Crimee, et 
porter la guerre en Asie. 9 The Allied forces were being 
wasted by sickness and inaction. The greatness of the object 
in view warranted some boldness in adventure ; and the 
very uncertainty with which the enterprise was invested 
must have given it some attraction, even for a disciple of the 


great chief whose rule it was, to leave as little as possible to 
chance. These, and other considerations which might be 
suggested, may have all helped, insensibly, to influence Lord 
Eaglan in reading, as he did, between the lines of his instruc 
tions, without having recourse to the serious imputation on 
the Ministry of having dictated an impracticable enterprise 
to the head of an army in the field. 

Parliament, says Mr. Kinglake (vol. ii. p. 246), e was 
sitting, and it might be imagined that there was something to 
say against the plan for invading a province of Russia at a 
moment when all the main causes of dispute were vanishing. 
But Parliament had shown, by the incidents recorded in this 
chapter, that it did not consider, any more than did the 
country, that the main causes of the dispute were vanish 
ing ; while the response awakened by Lord Lyndhurst s 
words showed conclusively enough, how eager it was for the 
invasion of the Crimea. The destruction of Sebastopol, 
indeed, was the thought uppermost in men s minds, and 
between this time and the period when it was known that 
the expedition with that object had been decided upon, the 
press rang with reproaches on the supineness of the Govern 
ment in not hurling the Allied forces at the great naval 
stronghold of the Czar. 11 The general feeling was so tho 
roughly shared by the Prince, that he gave a special study 
to the question, how the advance against Sebastopol was to 
be conducted. By a curious coincidence he sent the result 
of his studies to the Duke of Newcastle the same day (29th 
June) that the Duke forwarded to the Queen his Despatch 

11 Thus, for example, The Times writes (24th July) : We are now approach 
ing the sixth month of actual hostilities, and as yet not a shot has been fired 
by the laud forces of England. . . . The broad policy of the war consists in 
striking at the very heart of the Russian power in the East, and that heart is at 
Sebastopol. . . . To destroy Sebastopol is nothing less than to demolish the entire 
fabric of Russian ambition in those very regions where it is most dangerous to 
Europe. This feat, and this only, would have really promoted the solid and 
durable objects of the war. 

o 2 


to Lord Raglan for Her Majesty s approval. In the letter 
which accompanied his conclusions, he puts them forward 
merely as the considerations which had occurred to him in 
his room, adding, but such as they are, you might perhaps 
communicate them to your colleagues, and even to Lord 
Eaglan when you write to him. 

The Prince s Memorandum is prefaced by the statement, 
that after the retreat of the Russians from the Danube, and 
the entry of the Austrians into Wallachia, it appears clear 
that it cannot be the policy of England to send her troops 
into the marshy ground of the former, or the exhausted 
country of the latter; but that our object should be the 
destruction of Sebastopol, the point which really commands 
the Black Sea. 

Sebastopol, he proceeds, appears to be inaccessible by 
sea. We are in total ignorance as to the strength of its 
garrison, and it may be difficult, under any circumstances, 
even for a land force, to carry on a siege against it by regular 
approaches. Probably, however, it may be possible to estab 
lish an efficient blockade both by land and sea, so as to 
ensure its reduction by starvation. To effect this an occu 
pation of the Crimea in force would be required. 

6 The British troops in the East amount to 30,000 effective 
men. The French speak of 80,000, and probably 40,000 
may be available for such a service ; while the Turks should 
now be in a condition to send from 30 to 40,000 of their 
army from the Danube, with a large quantity of siege artil 
lery, which they certainly possess. 

With a combined army of 110,000 men we need not fear 
to undertake the expedition. 

The question would then only remain as to the best 
mode of conducting it. 

The first difficulty is the absence of all information as to 
the Crimea itself, which can in any way be relied upon. We 


are equally ignorant as to its population, its harbours, its 
rivers and roads, its means of supplying troops, and the 
amount of the Russian force employed in it. To meet this 
difficulty, the Memorandum suggests, roving expeditions 
should be made by our steam squadron to all parts of the 
coast landings should be effected where possible, and some 
of the inhabitants carried off and subjected to cross-exami 

How and when to land was the next question. The point 
selected, the Prince continues, should be such as would 
bring us nearest to Sebastopol, without exposing us to in 
terruption in our early operations from its garrison, and at 
the same time command and cut off its communications 
from the interior. Into this branch of the question he then 
goes in considerable detail, founding his observations on the 
map of the Crimea copied by Major Jervis from the Russian 
official map of 1837, which was subsequently used by Lord 
Raglan for the expedition. The plateau between the Rivers 
Katscha and Belbek seemed to the Prince to be well adapted 
for the formation of an entrenched camp, with a view to the 
object aimed at, and to otfer, from the nature of the ground 
and its command of the roads to Sebastopol, a secure position 
for the invaders, and an excellent basis for an attack on 
Sebastopol. When, however, the Allies reached this ground 
after the battle of the Alma, it disclosed features which 
woidd have made a descent there most dangerous, if not 
impossible. The Prince then goes on to suggest that the 
attention of the Russians should be drawn away from the 
points of invasion by attacks from the sea on other parts of 
the coast of the Crimea, during which a landing might be 
effected at the place selected, and time be gained for 
securing the position by field-works and entrenchments. 
6 From this position, should it not appear advisable to direct 
an immediate attack upon Sebastopol itself, such heights 


might probably be gained in rear of the harbour as would 
give the means of throwing shells among the shipping and 
into the dockyard. 

To seize the isthmus of Perekop, or to take up a position 
to the south of it, so as to prevent the advance of reinforce 
ments to Sebastopol from that side, might also, continues 
the Prince, be a matter for consideration ; but this ought 
not to be done at any risk to the security of the main body 
of the invading army, or its efficiency for the investment of 

4 It is idle, perhaps, says the Prince in conclusion, to 
speculate at this distance, and without better information, 
on the mode of besieging Sebastopol. But we may be jus 
tified in contemplating its possible investment by an army 
from 60,000 to 70,000 men, covered by another from 30,000 
to 40,000 strong the communication of the investing forces 
with the sea maintained, and the mouth of the harbour 
blockaded, in hoping for its fall. 

It is probable that no one, either Englishman or French 
man, had at this time gone more carefully into the subject 
discussed in this Memorandum than the Prince, for among 
his multifarious pursuits none seem to have more interested 
his attention than those of the military tactician and strate 
gist. We are not in a position to say, however, whether it 
ever went beyond the hands of the Duke of Newcastle ; 
but those who are familiar with what was subsequently done 
to prepare for the landing in the Crimea will know how 
closely the sfceps taken correspond with the main sugges 
tions of the Prince s sketch. 


UNITED as England and France now were in an enterprise 
for the success of which mutual accord and loyalty were in 
dispensable, it was natural the Emperor of the French should 
seek to establish personal relations between himself and the 
Court of England ; as these, while gratifying his own 
ambition, might help to draw closer the political under 
standing with France, which in the interest of both nations 
it was most desirable to cement. The first approaches with 
this view came naturally from the French side. The Emperor 
had decided on establishing during the summer a camp of 
100,000 men between Boulogne and St. Omer, and early in 
June he asked Lord Cowley as a friend, whether he thought an 
invitation to Prince Albert to come and see the French army 
there would be acceptable. In communicating this circum 
stance to Lord Clarendon, Lord Cowley mentioned that he was 
sure one of the great objects of the Emperor, in seeking this 
interview, was the hope, by personal communication, of dis 
pelling the prejudice which he supposed to exist against him. 
However this might be, the political advantages likely to 
result from gratifying the Emperor s wish were obvious. A 
visit from the Consort of the Queen of England could not fail 
to raise his position with his subjects, and to strengthen his 
hands as our ally. Nor, added Lord Cowley, in calculating 
the advantages which may result from a compliance with the 
Emperor s desire, can I forget the impression which Prince 
Albert s sound understanding must make upon His Majesty, 
or the results which it may produce. 


The course prescribed by the interests of the country was 
so clear, that the Prince could not hesitate for a moment in 
letting it be known that the proposed invitation would be 
accepted. It came in the following letter : 

Mon Frere, Votre Altesse Royale sait que mettant en 
pratique sa propre idee, et voulant prouver une determination 
de soutenir jusqu au bout la lutte que nous avons com- 
mencee ensemble, j ai decide la reunion d une armee entre 
St.-Omer et Boulogne. Je n ai pas besoin de dire a votre 
Altesse quel plaisir j aurais a la voir et combien je serais 
heureux de lui montrer mes troupes ; je suis d ailleurs per 
suade que les liens personnels contribueront encore a cimenter 
1 union si heureusement etablie entre deux grands peuples. 
Je vous prie de presenter a la Heine mes respectueux hom- 
mages et de recevoir 1 expression de 1 estime et de la sincere 
affection que je vous ai vouees. Sur ce, mon Frere. je prie 
Dieu, t^ii fl vous ait en sa sainte et digne garde ! 


St.- Cloud, le 3 Juillet 18o4. 
To this the Prince promptly replied : 

Sire et cher Frere, C est avec une bien vive satisfaction 
que je viens de recevoir la gracieuse et aimable lettre que 
V. M. a bien voulu m adresser. Le desir qu Elle y te- 
moigne de me voir au camp de St.-Omer, ainsi que les termes 
si aimables dans lesquels Elle a daigne Pexprimer, me font 
un devoir d y satisfaire ; et ce devoir, je vous prie de le 
croire, me sera bien doux a remplir, cornme il me procurera 
le plaisir de faire la connaissance personnelle de votre Majeste 
et de pouvoir lui exprimer en personne, quel prix la Reine et 
moi nous attachons a 1 amitie et a 1 intimite des rapports 
qui unissent les gouvernements et les peuples de nos deux 

II me sera en outre du plus haut interet d assister a une 


concentration de troupes de cette noble armee rangee dans 
ce moment a cote de la notre pour la defense du droit public 
Europeen, et de voir ces troupes commandees par votre 
Majeste elle-meme. 

6 La Eeine me charge de ses sinceres remerciments pour 
1 aimable souvenir de votre Majeste, et desire d etre rappelee 
a celui de 1 Imperatrice. 

4 C est avec les sentiments d attachement et devouement 
bien sinceres que je suis, 

Sire et cher Frere, 

de Yotre Majeste Imperiale 

le bon frere, 


Buckingham Palace, le 5 do Juillet 1854. l 

Writing to Baron Stockmar a few days afterwards (18th 
July), the Queen announces the arrangement thus : I may 
now disclose a secret, viz., Albert will go early in September 
for two or three days to the camp at St. Omer. The Em 
peror wished it much, and it was also wished here, and 
thought a right and natural thing to do, considering that our 
armies are fighting together. Why and how warmly the 
Baron approved the projected visit, he tells the Prince in a 
letter from Coburg a few days afterwards (24th July) : 

I highly approve your intention of going in September to 
the camp at St. Omer. As a general rule, English politicians 
do not sufficiently observe the state of things on the Continent 
with their own eyes. From everything that induces people 
in an influential position to make such personal inspection 
I anticipate good, and from the present occasion more than 

1 The same day Lord Clarendon writes to the Prince: I have the honour 
to return the Emperor s letter, and the answer of your Royal Highness, which 
is quite excellent, and must, I am sure, be productive of good effect. I can see 
no objection, but the contrary, to your Royal Highness addressing the Empe 
ror as "frere," and Lord Aberdeen, whom I have consulted, is of the same 


usual, inasmuch as the good or evil destiny of the present 
time will directly and chiefly depend upon a rational, honour 
able, and resolute alliance between England and France. 
Once the war has begun, the weal and woe of these countries, 
both at home and abroad, as indeed of all Europe, will 
depend upon whether or not the Allied Powers shall vindi 
cate successfully the principles of honour and justice, and 
shall not upon any consideration be induced to conclude a 
peace which shall have the effect of confirming again by 
treaty, and for a lengthened period, the preponderance of 
Russia, and therefore of Barbarism over Civilisation. 

If ever a Ministry, strong in its own unity of counsels and 
mutual trust, and strong also in Parliament, was necessary, 
it was so at the present time. But notoriously discontents 
reigned within the Cabinet itself. Two at least of its members, 
Lord Russell and Lord Palmerston, would have preferred to 
lead rather than to be led. Each had his partisans within 
and without the Cabinet, and it was apparent to all the 
world that no cordial unanimity existed between the Peelite 
section of the Ministry and their colleagues. In the House 
of Commons the followers of the Government showed no 
symptoms of coherence. The head of the Ministry was a 
favourite object of attack with them, no less than with the 
Opposition. Nor was this met by that display of loyalty on 
the part of his supporters, which the head of the Government 
has a right to expect. It was impossible for a Ministry thus 
obviously not at one with itself to command either the 
respect or obedience of the House, and, having themselves 
encouraged insubordination against their chief, some of its 
members were not entitled to complain, if they found them 
selves thwarted in their measures through a similar disregard 
of party ties by the body of the Liberal party. 

This want of attachment and support by his nominal 


friends was so keenly felt by Lord John Russell, that he 
wished to resign the lead of the House (14th July), and 
only reluctantly agreed to reconsider his decision. A meet 
ing was summoned for the 17th, at which 180 members of 
the House of Commons attended, in which, as reported by 
Lord Aberdeen to the Queen, * many hostile speeches were 
made, and much confusion prevailed. 2 The support of the 
party was, however, secured at this meeting to the Govern 
ment measure for separating from the office of Colonial 
Secretary the duties of Secretary at War, with which these 
had hitherto been combined, and the way was prepared for 
carrying a few nights afterwards a vote of credit for 
3,000, 000. to meet the exigencies of the war during the 
approaching recess. This vote, in which many of the Oppo 
sition might be expected to join, was, moreover, the most 
favourable issue for the Government which could be raised. 

Writing (29th July) from Osborne to Baron Stockmar, 
the Prince says : 

The aspect of politics is very singular. The Ministry 
here has had an explanation with its supporters at Lord 
John s house, in which their total disorganisation made it 
self apparent ; these supporters have since made the most 
vehement attacks on particular Ministers, especially Aber 
deen, brought forward a motion against the Government, 
and lost it without a division. 

A vote of credit of 3,000 3 OOOZ. for the Recess has become 
a vote of confidence for the Ministry. Aberdeen himself 
is in deep distress at the probable death of his eldest son, 
as well as the great amount of injustice, not to say folly, on 

2 In replying to Lord John Russell s report of the meeting, the Quern says 
(19th July) : The party which supports the Government is certainly a strange 
basis for a Government to rest upon ; but, such as it is, one muf-t make the 
best of it. and nothing will contribute more to keeping it together than to give 
it the impression that the Government is thoroughly united. 


the part of the public. With them the steam is fairly up, 
as it ought to be in going to war, and Aberdeen is a standing 
reproach in their eyes, because he cannot share the enthusiasm 
while it is his part to lead it. Nevertheless, he does his 
duty, and keeps the whole thing together, and is the only 
guarantee that the war will not degenerate into crack- 
brained, fruitless .... absurdities, 3 which are certain to 
turn out solely for the advantage of Eussia. Austria has 
now come to the point where she must make up her mind, 
and will no doubt conclude an alliance, offensive and de 
fensive, with the Western Powers, which will also provide 
for the accomplishment of certain defined objects^ such as 
the evacuation of the Principalities, the abolition of the 
Eussian protectorate over them, the cancelling of all pre 
vious Eussian treaties, and the substitution of an European 
for a Eussian protectorate of the Christians, or rather of 
European protection for a Eussian protectorate, the opening 
of the Danube for the commerce of the world, in accordance 
with the principles of what was settled at the Congress of 
Vienna, &c. &c. Prussia s conduct is truly revolting, and 
the King is looked upon by all political men here with 
profound contempt. Still, I do not think that Austria has 
anything to apprehend from him, as it professes to have, by 
way of excuse for its own temporising. Sweden would 
easily be induced to join, supposing Austria to advance, and 
Austria will bleed to death financially if she does not help 
speedily to bring the war to an end. 

6 The inactivity of our army and fleet is attacked on all 
sides. The Commanders-in-chief have carte blanche to do 
what they can, but what they can or cannot do depends in 
so many ways on Austria s decision, that any decisive action 
by them as matters now stand is not to be expected. 

8 Such as projects for the reconstitntion of Poland, and for depriving 
Eussia of Finland, and of the Crimea, &c. 


Uncle Leopold has just written to me to say that he has 
been invited with his son to his neighbour s camp and will 
go. He wishes to have his visit over before I come, and 
names the 1st of September as the earliest day he can be 
received. On the 5th the coast would be clear for me, and 
I should then relieve him. 

Now farewell. If my letter be confused, ascribe this to 
my being in truth intolerably out of sorts, and give us the 
hope of seeing you soon again. 

The Prince s mention of his own indisposition seems to 
have alarmed the Baron, who knew well both how little his 
correspondent was disposed to complain of his own health, 
and how heavily he had been taxed for many months in both 
body and mind. In his reply he says : 

I have to offer your Royal Highness my best thanks for 
your gracious letter of the 29th. How closely you are 
entwined round my heart I feel most vividly when I hear, 
as I do now, that you are unwell and morally unstrung. 
The desire to be near you, to see you with my own eyes, to 
hear you, and to be able to comfort you, rises to a pitch of 
actual impatience.. 

People write, but this is only to calm my uneasiness, 
that it is no more than an ordinary cold, such as you have 
had before. But this consolation fails in its object, as I 
rather judge by what the patient says of himself than by the 
opinion of any third person. 

. . . Upon the whole I feel rather better, so that I 
am speculating on being able to go to Brussels towards the 
end of this month. There I can easily hear of any move 
ments your Royal Highness may be contemplating about 
that time, and after all a meeting may perhaps be arranged, 
as to which I have had many and grave doubts this year. 

Coburg, 4th August, 1854:. 


The Prince, who was delighted at the prospect here held 
out of a meeting with his friend, after an absence of over 
eighteen months, urged him in reply not to delay his journey 
too long. On the 8th of August he wrote : 

Uncle Leopold goes with his son Leopold on the 1st of 
September to the Camp of St. Omer, or more properly Bou 
logne ; the days for my visit there will fall between the 3rd 
and I Oth. After my return Clark insists upon our enjoying 
some Highland air before the rains of autumn set in, and I 
feel that Victoria needs it as well as myself. I cannot shake 
off my cough. Still, it is rather better. ... I hope the 
state of affairs, political and military, will not prevent us 
from making our visit to Balmoral. Mountain air would 
certainly do you, too, a great deal of good. And if the one 
small room, which is all we have to offer you in that little 
place, be neither large nor commodious enough, Clark would 
be delighted to put you up at Birkhall, which is no great 
distance off. 

On the 12th of August Parliament was prorogued by the 
Queen in person, Her Majesty coming from Osborne for the 
purpose. The Court returned there the same day. Cholera 
was then prevalent in London ; but from the East the worst 
news were now arriving daily of its ravages in the Allied 
armies, where, the Prince s Diary notes (21st August), we 
have lost 500, and the French 5,000 men, and are quite 
demoralised. A few days later came the tidings that it had 
broken out in the fleet also, and that it was uncertain 
whether the state of the army would admit of the expedition 
to the Crimea being carried out. The Prince s sympathies 
were at this time deeply moved by hearing unexpectedly ? 
the death of the brother of Baron Stockmar, and he wrote : 

A piece of news from Munich, which I found last night 


in the Kolner Zeitung, has cut me to the soul ! I flew in 
thought to you, and can picture vividly to myself the deep 
grief which so sad an event must cause you. Is it then true, 
that you have lost your beloved brother ? The circumstan 
tiality of the account leaves me scarcely any room for doubt, 
and yet I go on searching for reasons not to believe it. Let 
me know soon by some third hand, how you are, for this 
heavy blow must have told upon you greatly. Would I 
might be with you, to help to comfort you ! 

6 Here too we have had many sad cases, occasioned by 
the spread of cholera, among which the most noteworthy 
is the death of Lord Jocelyn in Lady Palmerston s drawing- 
room ; the malady carried him off in a couple of hours. 

Osborne, 17th August, 1854. 

This brought from the Baron the following reply : 

6 My brother died of cholera at Munich on the 10th of 
this month, in less than eleven hours, and after the most 
acute suffering. For the domestic happiness of the family., 
for the private business of the King, his death is a most 
serious loss. As we have no relations in Munich, he died 
alone and among strangers a circumstance which imposes 
upon me great additional trouble, of which I do not see the 
end, as to the arrangements about his funeral and succes 

As he was a philanthropically minded man, to an extent 
not often seen, he had made for himself a wide circle of 
friends, who now from numerous quarters pay an honourable 
tribute to his character. . . . 

My wish and purpose still are, so soon as business and 
health will permit, to go to Brussels, and thence to England, 
My chief motive is the yearning to see you once more in 
this life. Shall I be able to do this ? It is uncertain. In 
these last years I have grown older and feebler. The agita- 


tion, the grief of the last fortnight, are not calculated to 
make me strong and young. . . . 

Most earnestly do I entreat you to be careful of your 
health. Avoid getting chilled, overheated, or wet. Be 
prudent about diet, 

24th August, 1854. 

On the 21st of August the Prince had received from the 
King of Prussia a letter, which he at once forwarded to Lord 
Clarendon, with a translation for the use of himself and Lord 
Aberdeen. In sending it, the Prince wrote, You will think 
it curious and interesting in many points, and find it verifies 
that fear is his strongest motive of action. That he should 
have held strong language to the Emperor of Russia is of 
importance, as well as the declaration that he will not allow 
Austria to be attacked. This corresponds with what I always 
told you, that Austria need not be afraid of the King s 
playing false to her. Prussia would at any time rejoice at a 
difficulty for Austria. The King will always be ready to 
sacrifice even Prussian interests for Austria. 4 

The main object of the letter appears to have been to find 
out whether our fleet was to winter in the Baltic. If, the 
King wrote, I knew only that the winter quarters of the 
Baltic Fleet will give no protection to our coasts, we should 
then know how to protect ourselves. He had recently been 
fortifying Dantzig towards the sea. Did he wish on the one 
hand to explain this away, as not an act of hostility to the 
Western Powers, but as a defence against Eussia and then, 
if we said we should not defend him by sea, to be free on the 
other to maintain that he was bound to defend himself by 
fortifications ? After hearing from Lord Clarendon, with the 

4 The King ha 1 written : The Emperor Nicholas knows at this hour, from 
my own hand, that the first step across the Austrian frontier will oblige mo to 
meet him with my army and that of the German Confederation. 


views of Lord Aberdeen and himself, the Prince wrote the 
following reply to the King : 

Your Majesty s letter of the 1 6th inst. reached me safely, and 
I shall do my best to give Your Majesty the explanations you 
desire; although I fear they will be found unsatisfactory by you. 

No decision has yet been come to about the winter 
quarters of the fleet, and the recent occupation of the Aland 
Islands introduces a new element into the calculation, which 
will have to be dealt with, before a decision can be come 
to. This much, however, is certain, that the object of our 
operations in the Baltic is, to shut up the Russian fleet in 
harbour, or to annihilate it if it ventures out. So long as 
there is a possibility of its venturing out, our fleet is sure to 
be on the look-out for it. The circumstances bad weather 
or ice which would drive our ships away, would make it 
equally impossible for the Russian fleet to move. I see, 
therefore, no peril for Your Majesty s seaboard, even should 
Russia show any special inclination to assail Prussia. So 
little able are England and France up to this moment to 
conceive the possibility of such a danger, that they could 
only regard Your Majesty s orders for the fortification of 
Dantzig seaward as an act of hostility towards themselves. 
It appears that this is the impression which the measure has 
produced upon the people of Germany. Under these circum 
stances I am glad, for Your Majesty s sake, that you did not 
make an official appeal to the Queen s Government, which 
very possibly would have replied, " Prussia has no right to 
claim protection for her harbours from us, so long as she is 
not our ally against Russia ; nay, while on the contrary she 
makes use of her neutrality to give Russia the means of 
pushing her trade through these ports, and so thwarting us 
in one of our chief measures for carrying on the war." 

4 In this Your Majesty will no doubt find an outburst of 



the unfortunate animosity of English diplomacy to your 
person, of which you complain. I should not be dealing 
with you as a true friend, were I not frankly to avow that 
this animosity does in fact exist, not merely, however, in 
English diplomacy, but also in the English nation, the 
French nation, and also, unless I am mistaken, in a consider 
able section of the Germans. And Your Majesty will 
scarcely say that it is wholly unjustifiable if you recall the 
events of the last few months. 

The four Powers acted in perfect harmony up to last 
March, when Prussia rejected the Quadruple Treaty which 
Austria, with the wisest intentions, had proposed. To satisfy 
Prussia, the much less binding Protocol of the 9th of April 
was substituted for it ; and simultaneously with the closing 
of the Chambers, all Your Majesty s servants were dismissed, 
who were well affected to the Western Powers and who stood 
in the bad graces of the Emperor of Kussia. Since that 
time Prussia has been the chief drawback to the energetic 
adhesion of Austria to the Western Powers, and the cause 
why it has been to a certain degree possible for Russia to 
thwart the policy of Austria. The Prussian ambassador was 
forbidden to take part in the Conferences at Vienna in July, 
whereby the three Powers felt themselves almost compelled 
to act alone ; besides which, at the most critical moment, 
and at the most favourable season of the year, three weeks 
were lost before the Ultimatum could reach St. Petersburg, 
which could not be despatched from Vienna till the 10th 
inst. In short Eussia obtained from Prussia that neutralite 
bienveillante which it had desired from the outset, but 
which, in the same degree in which it is bienveillante to 
Russia, could not but be regarded by the Western Powers 
as hostile to them. I am quite aware that you do all this 
in order to secure for Prussia the blessings of peace, but you 
must not be surprised if the West shows displeasure towards 


a Government whose policy is directed solely to protracting 
the state of war, to throwing obstacles in the way of peace, 
and flinging wide the entrance for the spirit of revolution ; 
which proffers Russia the most important services, by keeping 
Grermany divided, by crippling Austria, by fostering Russian 
commerce ; and in this way prevents the European Question, 
which has been raised by the misdeeds of Russia, from being 
settled in the interest of Europe, and by an united Europe. 

Whether the Emperor of Russia will be permanently bene 
fited by this, I must leave to time to show. For the longer 
the war continues, the heavier will be the conditions which 
the Western Powers will feel themselves justified in exacting. 
And the longer Russia is misled into relying upon the support 
of Prussia, the more grievous will be her disappointment, 
for of these in this imbroglio she has already had so many 
when Prussia is brought to the point, where she must act up 
to her assurances. The animosity of Russia, of which Your 
Majesty is already apprehensive, will then fall exclusively 
upon Prussia, and I tremble at the thought, that she shall be 
held responsible both by Austria and the West for all the 
suffering and loss, which a well-timed combined action of all 
the Powers would have averted. The angry feeling which 
now prevails is an indication not to be mistaken of what 
may be expected. May the Almighty direct all for the best! 

6 With Victoria s warmest greetings, I remain, Your 

Majesty s most faithful servant and kinsman, 


Oslorne. 28th August, 1854. 

The time for the Prince s visit to France was now drawing 
near, and on the 29th of August the Queen writes to King 
Leopold: To our great joy, Stockmar writes on the 22nd, 
that he intends to set out shortly for England, which will be a 
great pleasure, and I trust he will be here during Albert s 
absence. This would be a great support and comfort to me, 

H 2 


as you know how forlorn and melancholy I am when he is 
away. Moreover, this will be the longest absence, since the 
one ten years ago, when that dear angel, now no longer with 
us, 5 comforted and supported me, and when you also were so 
kind and good to me. He leaves me on Monday evening 
(4th) and I trust will be with me again early on Saturday 
the 9th. 

The Queen s hopes as to Stockmar were disappointed, as 
he was not able to come to England for some weeks. The 
Prince left Osborne on the evening of the 3rd of September, 
accompanied by the Queen in the Fairy as far as Spit- 
head. Along with him were the Duke of Newcastle, Lord 
Seaton, General Wetherall, General Grey, Captain (now 
Lord) De Eos, and Captain (now Colonel) Du Plat. The 
following passages, translated from the Prince s letters to the 
Queen, will be the best record of the incidents of this memor 
able visit : 

"Victoria and Albert," 4th September, 1854. 

Ten miles from Boulogne. Nine o clock. 

Whilst you sit at breakfast with the children, and are 
teased by the wasps, of which Arthur is horribly afraid, and 
makes grimaces at, I sit in the cabin at my table (yours is 
there empty), and wish you on paper a friendly good-morning. 
The night was superb. After we had thrown you, by blue 
lights, a parting salutation, which you returned from the 
Fairy i following it by one last greeting under a flare of 
torches, which was left unanswered, we travellers sat upon 
deck till half-past eleven, in the glorious moonlight. It was 
close upon twelve when I got to bed in the cabin, which 
had a very blank and desolate look. 

When I got up this morning about seven, in splendid 
weather, the first news was, that our stupid ships of war were 
^ out of sight astern." They were not where they should 
5 Louise, the late Queen of the Belgians. 


have been, despite a fourteen-hours start in advance, and 
express orders "to make the best of their way." So we shall 
have to run in without escort, and without even having it in 
our power to return the French, salute. Denman is very 
wroth about it, and we share all his annoyance, which, 
however, can do neither him nor us any good. 

About ten we shall make the port, and I have to get 
myself into full uniform dress beforehand. Shortly after 
wards some further news, my dear child ! 

Boulogne, half-past one o clock. 

We have arrived safely, as the telegraph will have told 
you. The Emperor met me on the quay, 6 and brought me 
here in his carriage to an hotel at the back of the town near 
the railway station, which he has hired for the occasion, but 
which looks more like an old French chateau, only two 
stories high, with long wings, a paved courtyard and a 
grillage in front. 

4 The Emperor has been very nervous, if we are to believe 
what is said by those who stood near him, and who know him 
well. He was kindly and cordial, does not look so old or 
pale as his portraits make him, and is much gayer than he is 
generally represented. The visit cannot fail to be a source 
of great satisfaction to him. He asked me at once whether 
I could stay here till the 9th, which is the earliest day he can 
get the troops together for a grand review ? I assured him 
I must embark again on the evening of the 8th, and that 

6 The Emperor, Lord Cowley wrote, the same day, to Lord Clarendon, 
had intended to go on board the yacht, but the Prince was beforehand with 
him, and stepped on shore as soon as the gangway WES established. ... I 
thought the Emperor very nervous (the first time 1 ever saw him so) as we 
were driving down the quay; and the Duke of Newcastle tells me that the 
tears stood in His Majesty s eyes while he expressed the pleasure which he re 
ceived from this fresh proof of the cordiality of the alliance which England 
proffered him. The Prince was the bearer of an autograph letter to the 
Emperor from the Queen, by the terms of which he was much gratified. 


this was the latest moment I could give him. You see, a 
shorter visit would have been a mistake. Drouyn de Lhuys 
and Marechal Vaillant are the " persons of note " who are 
here, besides General Montebello, whom we saw at the camp 
in England, and Colonel Fleury ; all the other gentlemen are 
officers of no distinction. 

6 1 have had two long talks with the Emperor, in which he 
spoke very sensibly about the war and the " question du 
jour" People here are far from sanguine about the results 
of the expedition to the Crimea, very sensitive about the 
behaviour of Sir Charles Napier, scantily satisfied with Lord 
Stratford ; nevertheless, so far as the Emperor is concerned, 
determined to consider the war and our alliance as the one 
thing paramount, to which all other considerations must give 
place. To all complaints I have only replied, that to carry 
public opinion with us in England is the main point (so far 
as consequences go), and that this is firmly rooted in support 
of the war; that Sir Charles Napier, Lord Stratford, and 
Lord Palmerston .are the three persons who alone could carry 
on the war. . . . 

6 Uncle Leopold was here for a couple of days, and left a 
letter for me ; he seems to have preached peace. Pedro [the 
young King of Portugal] was here yesterday with his brother, 
and made a very favourable impression. " II a tout-a-fait 
gagne mon cceur" was the Emperor s expression. He lias 
returned to Ostend, and people here understood that he is to 
go to England ; I therefore conjecture that he will pay you 
a visit at Osborne. Should this be so, I shall be greatly 
pleased if you can keep the young people till I return. It 
would be too sad for me not to see them before they go back 
to Portugal. 7 

~ The 3ing and his brother, the Duke of Oporto, had come to London at 
the beginning of June, and by their intelligence and fine dispositions had 
inspired him with a warm attachment for them. 

1854 TO THE QUEEN. 103 

About half-past eleven we had a dejeuner a la fourchette. 
The dinner hour is six. About four we are to ride to the 
camp of a Division, which is pitched on the Dunes near the 
sea, about five miles from here. About seven A.M. to-morrow 
we go to St. Omer (thirty-two miles off), where the whole 
day is to be devoted to a review. I fear this will leave me 
no time to write to you at any length. The heat is fearful, 
and my little room has the much-lauded " south aspect," 
which has the effect of making my fingers stick to the paper. 

I forgot to name Lord Cowley, who is here, and makes a 
useful 4i go-between." Meyer \_Stallmeister, or Master of the 
Prince s Stable] is in a state of supreme delight (ausseratem 
Gloriole), and yet dissatisfied that I will not put on the 
saddle-cloth, as here everything is so gorgeous. 

4 Now I conclude for the present, as the Maire is waiting 
for me. 

Half-past seven P.M. 

We have only now got back from the camp, after a very 
fatiguing ride ; the hills very steep, the roads detestable. 
We went to two separate camps, each consisting of an in 
fantry division of 8,000 men. Lord Seaton had a fall from 
Ins horse, but did himself no mischief. I must make haste 
with dressing for dinner. Meanwhile the messenger leaves, 
so I must conclude. 

Boulogne, 5th September : ten P.M. 

Before I go to bed, I must wish you good-night upon 
paper, even though the wish may be rather late in reaching 
your dear hands. I have to go out to-morrow morning by 
six, so that there will be little time for writing. The Em 
peror thaws more and more. This evening after dinner I 
withdrew with him to his sitting-room for half an hour be 
fore rejoining his guests, in order that he might smoke his 
cigarette, in which occupation, to his amazement, I could 
not keep him company. He told me one of the deepest 


impressions ever made upon him was when, after having" gone 
from France to Eio Janeiro and thence to the United States, 
and been recalled to Europe by the rumour of his mother s 
serious illness, he arrived in London shortly after King 
William s death, and saw you at the age of eighteen going 
to open Parliament for the first time. 

To-day Soliman Pasha has turned up, jovial as ever. We 
spoke of military caps : he remembered one in the Imperial 
army in 1813; one of the Generals said, " C etait les 
bonnets a la Marie Louise." "Ah, faime mieux qu on 
les appelle a la Napoleon, moi" was his rejoinder, with a 
contemptuous shrug of the shoulders. The Empress s bro 
ther-in-law, the Duke of Alba, is here. 

6th September : half-past s:x A.M. 

(rood-morning ! Though my bed was too short, the 
counterpane too heavy, the pillows of feathers and the heat 
frightful, I have slept pretty well, and am already booted 
and spurred. The heat in the dining-room yesterday was 
terrible. The weather seems fine to-day, but windy. I 
must be off. More this evening, should we return before the 
messenger has to leave. 

Quarter-past six P.M. 

I avail myself of the moment I have before dinner to tell 
you that we got back half an hour since, and that I found 
your letter of the 4th and 5th waiting me here. My warmest 
thanks for it. Give Vicky also and Lenchen thanks for theirs. 
. . . We made our way for three hours by post (quite after 
the manner described by Albert Smith 8 ) to the hamlet of 
Viserne, breakfasted there in a peasant s cottage, had some 

8 In his Ascent of Mont Blanc, which he had given at Osborne on the 
Prince s last birthday (26th August), and by -which two words in the Prince s 
Diary (schr komisck) show that he, like the rest of the world, had been greatly 

1 854 TO THE QUEEN. 105 

time to wait, for our riding horses, and ultimately rode to 
the heights above St. Omer, where 20,000 men under 
General Cnrlot were posted, two infantry and one cavalry 
division (of Cuirassier regiments), superb troops. 9 I am 
called to dress. 

Half-past nine P.M. 

The messenger is on the point of returning. During the 
six hours (three hours going and three returning) which I 
passed in the carriage with the Emperor alone, we discussed 
all the topics of home and foreign policy, material and 
personal, with the greatest frankness, and I can say nothing 
but good of what I heard. 

6 He has explained his relations to Persigny in exchange 
for my communication as to ours to Palmerston, and I have 
made him understand our position with reference to his 
covp d etat. His wish is to see Spain and Portugal united. 
I have unfolded our reasons for a different view ; we have 
discussed political economy, taxation and finance, reforma 
tories, prisons, and transportation, constitutional government, 
liberty and equality, c., all secundum artem, &c. &c. 
More of this hereafter by word of mouth. He was brought 
up in the German fashion at the Gymnasium in Augsburg, 
where ho passed the greater part of his childhood recollec 
tions which have remained dear to him, and a training 
which lias developed a German turn of thought. As to all 
modern political history, so far as this is not Napoleonic, lie 
is without information, so that he wants many of the mate 
rials for accurate judgment. He has made a thorough 
study of military matters, and is completely master of 

I send two of the new gold five-franc pieces which the 

9 His Royal Highness, Lord Cowley writes to Lord Clarendon (6th Sep 
tember), is much admired by the French officers ; indeed his affibility gains 
all hearts. 


Emperor gave me, one for yourself, and one for the numis- 
matical department of the children s museum. 

Boulogne, 7th September, 1854. 

... It is now ten. I have just returned from a stroll 
with the Emperor through his stables, where the alliance is 
typified by the union of his horses and my own. To-night 
the Duke of Newcastle received his despatches from Varna 
and Hango. General Jones reports that it would be easy to 
bombard and even to take Helsingfors ; Napier pours cold 
water upon the project. Raglan continues to speak only 
indirectly of the Crimea. 

The Emperor is to visit the yacht to-day. In the after 
noon we go to inspect the Division. By five this morning 
troops passed through the town for to-morrow s review. 1 
have had a letter from Pedro, according to which he is to go 
to Osborne, but bids me adieu : ask him not to leave till 
Saturday evening, so that I may arrive in time to see him 
and Louis. 

I have this moment (two r.M.) received your letter of 
yesterday. Hearty thanks for it and all the words of love. 
. . . The Portuguese are with you, as the telegraph inti 
mates, and I have sent you my reply. The review to 
morrow will not be far from Calais. The heat and dust put 
us to a severe trial, still I am well. The Emperor has been 
greatly delighted at making Uncle Leopold s acquaintance. 

Half-past ten P.M. 

i I wished to have sent you some further news, but now 
there is no time to do so. It was eight o clock before we 
got back from the camp. I have just risen from dinner, and 
the messenger must be off. I have in general terms ex 
pressed to the Emperor your wish to see him in England, 
and also to make the Empress s acquaintance. His answer 

1 854 TO THE QUEEN. 107 

was, lie hoped on the contrary to have an opportunity of 
receiving you in Paris. Next year the Louvre would be com 
pleted for the Exhibition. I must leave the matter here, and 
unless he says, " I will come, when can the Queen receive 
me ? " I cannot fix any date. Perhaps the inquiry may 
come to-morrow. I have talked to Lord Cowley. He will 
gladly come with him. At this moment hope runs high 
about Sebastopol. I hear, alas ! by the telegraph that the 
Portuguese will not grant me the twelve hours I ask, which 
is very shocking of them. 

4 To-morrow morning we turn out about six ; I must be 
up and stirring by five. 

4 ... This is the last letter you will receive from me. 
To-morrow evening we start, and not the messenger. 

The Prince records in his Diary the same day, that upon 
the whole he was greatly pleased with the Emperor (im 
Ganzen recht zufrieden mit ihm) ; and on his return to 
Osborne, he wrote to renew in writing, as the letter bore, 
the expression of his gratitude for the kind reception given 
to him by His Majest} r at Boulogne. The remembrance, 
he added, of the days I have just spent there, as well as of 
the trustful cordiality (la confiante cordialite) with which 
you have honoured me, shall not be effaced from my 
memory. I found the Queen and our children well, and she 
charges me with a thousand kind messages for your Majesty. 
The King of Portugal was still in Cowes Roads, on board his 
yacht, which had been kept back to complete her coaling 
a piece of Portuguese backwardness to which I am indebted 
for the pleasure of seeing him again for a few minutes. 



Two days after his return from Boulogne the Prince dictated 
the following Memorandum to General Grey. Its value as 
an authentic historical document cannot be overstated, nor 
is it less valuable for the light which it throws upon the 
Prince s character, by the remarkable contrasts between him 
self and the Emperor of the French which were elicited in 
the unreserved discussions which each seems equally to have 
courted : 

Memorandum on my Visit to Boulogne. 

I think it will not be uninteresting to note down some of 
the impressions which I have gathered, and the purport of 
the conversations which have passed between the Emperor 
and myself, during my stay of four days with him at Boulogne. 
I saw a great deal of him during that time, having been 
thrown entirely into his company, particularly during our 
drives to and from the different encampments of the troops. 
I cannot sufficiently acknowledge the openness and want of 
reserve with which he broached all the most important topics 
of the day, and hope I was as open and unreserved in the 
expression of my own opinions. 

4 He appeared quiet and indolent from constitution, not 
easily excited, but gay and humorous when at his ease. His 
French is not without a little German accent ; the pronun 
ciation of his German better than that of his English. On 


the whole I observed a good deal in his turn of mind, that is 
owing to his education at Augsburg, where, as he told me, he 
was brought up at the Gymnasium. He recited a poem of 
Schiller on the advantages to man of peace and war, which 
seemed to have made a deep impression upon him, and ap 
pears to me to be not without significance with reference to 
his life. 

His Court and household are strictly kept, and in good 
order, more English than French. The gentlemen compos 
ing his entourage are not distinguished by birth, manner, or 
education. He lives on a very familiar footing with them, 
although they seemed afraid of him. The tone was rather 
the ton de gamison, with a good deal of smoking ; the 
Emperor smoking cigarettes, and not being able to under 
stand my not joining him in it. He is very chilly, complains 
of rheumatism, and goes early to bed ; takes no pleasure in 
music, and is proud of his horsemanship in which, however, 
I could discover nothing remarkable. 

His general education appeared to me very deficient, 
even on subjects which are of a first necessity to him I 
mean the political history of modern times, and political 
sciences generally. He was remarkably modest, however, in 
acknowledging these defects, and showed the greatest candour 
in not pretending to know what he did not. All that refers to 
the Napoleonic history he seems to have at his fingers ends ; 
he also appears to have thought much and deeply on politics ; 
yet more like an " Amateur Politician," mixing many very 
sound and many very crude notions together. He admires 
English institutions, and regrets the absence of an aristocracy 
in France ; but might not be willing to allow such an aristo 
cracy to control his own power, whilst he might wish to have 
the advantage of its control over the pure democracy. 

Government. He asked me a good deal about the inter 
nal working of the English Government ; whether the Queen 


presided a son conseil, whether she saw all the despatches, 
&c. &e. I told him that the Queen presided in person at the 
Privy Council, which, however, passed without discussion 
only matters which had been pre-arranged ; that the Cabinet 
met and discussed alone, but that the Queen was informed 
by the Prime Minister of the object of their meeting, and of 
the result of their deliberations. He said he did not allow 
his Ministers to rntet or discuss matters together that they 
transacted their business solely with him. He rarely told 
the one what he had settled with the other. He seemed as 
tonished when I told him, that every Despatch went through 
the Queen s hands, and was read by her, as he only received 
extracts made from them, and indeed appeared to have little 
time or inclination generally to read. When I observed to 
him, that the Queen would not be content without seeing the 
whole of the diplomatic correspondence, he replied that he 
found a full compensation in having persons in his own con 
fidence at the different posts of importance, who reported 
directly to him. I could not but express my sense of the 
danger of such an arrangement, to which no statesman in 
England at least would consent, and which enabled the 
Foreign Minister (if he chose to cheat his master) always to 
plead to foreign countries his ignorance of what might have 
been done, or to throw the entire blame, in any difficulty 
that might occur, upon these secret instructions. The 
Emperor acknowledged all this, but pleaded necessity. 

M. Drouyn de Lhuys. He praised Drouyn de Lhuys, 
only complaining of his haste. He had the other day, for 
instance, caused annoyance at Vienna by having sent there 
literally the very expressions in which the Emperor had in 
structed him, and which were intended only as a guide to 
him. I observed that this could not have happened in 
England, where every draft had to receive the Sovere : gn s 
sanction in the shape in which it was to go. 


6 Lord Palmerston. The Emperor asked me what were 
the Queen s objections to Lord Palmerston? He had always 
been tres-bon pour lui. I replied I did not know what 
reason he could have for gratitude to Lord Palmerston ; the 
only thing I knew was that he hated the Orleans family, and 
que cela pourrait bien etre pour quelque chose in what 
appeared bonte pour lui. 

To satisfy the Emperor s wish to know why, I had to refer 
to the quarrel between Lord Palmerston and King Louis 
Philippe on the subject of intervention in Spain in 1835, 
when the King sacrificed M. Thiers to break through the 
engagement for such an intervention, on the ground that in 
tervention in the affairs of Spain had at all times brought 
ruin on France and the dynasty which undertook it an 
axiom the truth of which he knew in 1835, and proved in 
1848 by acting diametrically against it. The Emperor 
seemed to know very little about that whole contest, which I 
had further to detail to him ; but still he concurred in the 
truth of the axiom. 

As to Lord Palmerston and the Queen s objection to him, 
the story was easily told. When he, the Emperor, had made 
his coup d etat, which I called une affaire douteuse dont 
personne ne pouvait prevolr les consequences, the Queen 
had enjoined the strictest neutrality to her Government as to 
that event ; the Cabinet had met, and declared that it en 
tirely concurred in the Queen s view, and had directed Lord 
Palmerston to prepare a draft explaining this to the French 
Government. The draft did not come for many days ; and 
when it arrived, Lord Normanby, who took it to the Minister 
for Foreign Affairs ] (whose name, oddly enough, neither the 
Emperor nor myself could remember), was met with the 
assurance, that the Government had received already Lord 
Palmerston s entire adhesion to and approbation of the 

1 Monsieur Turgot. 


measure. The Queen asked for explanation from Lord John 
Russell, then Prime Minister, who, after having had to wait 
several days, received at last so rude an answer that he had 
to send Lord Palmerston his dismissal. This rendered it im 
possible for the Queen to have him again for Foreign Secretary. 
But the Queen and myself had long been at variance with 
Lord Palmerston as to the main principle of his foreign 
policy, which was even an exaggeration of that laid down in 
Mr. Canning s celebrated speech in December 1826. The 
Emperor not being acquainted with this important turning- 
point in our political history, I had to explain it to him, and 
to show that the object of it was to form a counterpoise to 
the Holy Alliance of the Governments on the Continent, by 
supporting the popular parties in every country, with a view 
to establishing constitutions after the model of our own. 
This was a doctrine very like that of the Jacobin propa 
ganda, and had produced the greatest hatred of England all 
over the Continent. (This the Emperor heartily assented 
to.) It produced, I said, the further inconvenience to 
England, that an English party was formed in every country, 
which, if worsted, brought defeat and discredit on the 
English Government ; but, if successful, had to prove its in 
dependence of England, by taking every measure that was 
hurtful to her. Lord Palmerston, detested by the Continental 
Governments, had been the object of every species of malig 
nity, attack, and intrigue on their part. This was known in 
England to the public, roused the national indignation in his 
favour, and gave him great popularity. The power which 
this popularity gave him he used in order to coerce his col 
leagues and his Sovereign into anything he chose to advocate. 
Any resistance was at once signalised as forming part of the 
grand European cambinations against him. 

Count Waleivski. The Emperor asked me how Count 
Walewski was liked in England ? I told him, very well ; 


perhaps the Emperor knew that he had not a great deal of 
tact (" None at all," said the Emperor) ; but Lord Clarendon 
told me that, during the whole time he has had to do with 
him, he had never once told him a lie, which, in my opinion, 
covered a multitude of sins, as it was the first necessity for 
public business. 

- Lord Aberdeen. The Emperor did not say much about 
Lord Clarendon, but allowed me to perceive that his distrust 
and dislike of Lord Aberdeen were deeply rooted. I repre 
sented the latter to him as d une probite et d un cceur d or. 

4 M. Persigny. He spoke about M. Persigny and entered 
into their mutual history, and bewailed that since his 
marriage he was a totally altered person, and quite lost 
to him. He had never had talent for administration, and in 
his extreme vivacity made a great many enemies. Yet of 
the hundred projects which his fertile imagination con 
tinually brought forth, even if the Emperor, as usually 
happened, disagreed with ninety-nine of them, there was 
sure to be one valuable enough to adopt. It had been ne 
cessary to take the interleur from him, but, since then, he 
had refused to keep a seat in the Council, and had done the 
Emperor and the Government the greatest harm by his un 
measured language, which found its way to the press. The 
idea that he was sacrificed to a Russian intrigue arose in his 
own brain. 

I begged to observe that, however unfounded the idea 
might have been, the Russian party had long before desig 
nated him as a man to immolate. 

t Public .Men Finance. We conversed on the immo 
rality of public men in France, particularly with regard to 
money transactions. The Emperor maintained that he could 
vouch for the integrity of the members of his Government, but 
not beyond, and this was one of his greatest difficulties. 
For instance, nothing had done him or his Government 



more harm than the attempt at the loan on the Credit 
Mobilier. The transaction had been a very simple and 
unobjectionable one when proposed to him. The employes, 
however, immediately drove up the 500-franc shares to 3,000, 
then sold and let the whole thing fall, which brought ruin 
on numbers of families. He was determined to do them in 
return, and had, without saying a word to anybody, opened 
a general subscription of the people through the prefects in 
every village. The effect had been marvellous. The whole 
loan was subscribed for in a day by the lowest classes, who 
were as much delighted at the measure as the money-lenders 
and agioteurs were annoyed, and brought their money seule- 
ment pour le donner a Napoleon. He would have to recur 
to this again probably next year. I told him we had been 
very much pleased with our financial operations. " Votre 
emprunt a done reussi ? " the Emperor said. I explained 
to him that we had not borrowed a shilling, nor, as he then 
supposed, emitted paper, but had raised additional taxation 
sufficient to pay the expenses of the war, about fifteen mil 
lions for the year ( 375 millions of francs). He seemed to have 
been quite ignorant of this, and expressed great astonishment. 
I then went cursorily through Mr. Gladstone s speech on 
the Budget, his critique on the heaven-born Minister Pitt, 
and thought it useful to show the untruth of the two most 
prevailing impressions on the Continent : that our debt was 
so large we could not add to it, the fact being that it was 
fifteen millions less than in 1815 the capital of the country 
being worth four times as much as it was at that time ; the 
other, that England could never go to war, because the people 
would object to bear the burthens and sacrifices necessary for 
it, which the present case, I hoped, sufficiently disproved. 

This led us to a general discussion on finance and com 
mercial policy the Emperor leaning to indirect taxation ; 
I condemning indirect taxation as a principle, but acknow- 


ledging its necessity as a sacrifice to the weakness of human 
nature, which cannot bear to see the money go direct from 
the pocket of the individual to the coffers of the State. I 
particularly condemned the ever-recurring attempts of the 
successive French Governments to control the price of bread. 
He declared this a necessity, as when bread was dear the 
people became ungovernable. The town of Paris had had 
to sacrifice sixteen millions of francs last year for that object, 
which he hoped to get back now after a plentiful harvest. 
I could not but express my doubts whether he would find it 
practicable to get back a shilling. As to the stability of the 
Government, nothing appeared to me so dangerous as to 
establish and acknowledge an immediate connection between 
it and the price of bread. He admitted this, but repeated 
that there was no help for it. 

We talked over general principles of government, I 
maintaining that the destinies of nations were less controlled 
by armies and rulers than by the philosophers of the day. I 
attributed the whole difficulty of the Government in France 
to the absurd doctrine of equality as an accompaniment to 
liberty, which was in fact its negation, and to Rousseau s 
Contrat Social, which represented man as originally free, 
and surrendering only a portion of his liberty to the State, 
in return for which he obtained certain advantages. This 
doctrine made it a continued matter of calculation, whether 
the advantages were adequate to the sacrifices, and in dis 
tress or difficulties of any kind the individual was prone to 
consider himself freed from his obligations to the State, 
whilst in reality man was originally in the most abject state 
of dependence, and obtained the condition for acquiring 
any liberty only through the existence of the State, its laws, 
and civilisation. Matters would not get better till some 
great mind arose and made a sounder philosophy popular. 
The Emperor seemed struck, and agreed with the truth of 

i 2 


this; but objected that no writers would for an immense 
length of time find their way to the people of France. Good 
writing had no chance at all, for even the worst writing of 
the Socialists, who worked upon the lowest passions of the 
crowd, had in fact hardly penetrated the surface of society. 
He instanced as a proof his own election for the National 
Assembly at Metz, where the Socialist candidate, who had all 
the votes pledged to him, saw them given to himself, a 
stranger just arrived, merely on account of the name of 
Napoleon. This name was the only thing left which still 
united the sentiments of the people. How little the people 
followed even the history of their own times was again 
illustrated to him on his way with the Empress to Biarritz, 
when, through a large portion of the south of France, the 
people cried : " Vive Marie-Louise ! " He had also heard on 
a former journey cries of " En fin voila le vieux revenii ! " 

The Ar r my. The army seems a great object of the 
Emperor s solicitude. He acknowledged that the war had 
found him impourvu. He had to refurnish almost his 
whole material, but was going on satisfactorily, and would 
be quite ready next year. He intended the camps to be 
maintained during the whole winter, pour aguerrir les 
troupes. He had placed his whole artillery on a uniform 
system twelve-pounders, which he was very proud of, as 
well as of the new carbine, his own invention, and a rocket of 
very large calibre, which has carried up to 6,000 metres, and 
from which he expects great results. He had likewise had ex 
periments carried on as to the power of resistance of wrought- 
iron, which proved that, at a given angle, a small thickness, 
like two inches, would resist any shot the shot splitting. 
He thought an application of this to floating batteries to be 
the way for taking Cronstadt without any loss. The project 
lias been communicated to the English Admiralty for con 
sideration. He is evidently anxious to become a good 


general, and has much studied the wars of his uncle. In 
the command of his troops he appeared inexperienced, 
though calm and self-possessed, and very modest and in 
genuous as to what he had yet to learn ; but decidedly 
showing talent for it. 

The troops were young, but both men and horses much 
stronger and finer than used to be the case with the French 

4 The Emperor was almost the only person amongst the 
French at Boulogne who had any hope of the success of the 
expedition against Sebastopol, and the astonishment was 
great that our whole party of English officers were so 
sanguine about it. The Emperor strongly condemned St. 
Arnaud s march into the Dobrudja, which had been positively 
forbidden. Before we left Boulogne, accounts arrived from 
Varna announcing the decision to go to the Crimea, St. 
Arnaud writing, in true French style, of himself, " Je suis 
plein de confiance et plein d*ardeur." 

4 The Emperor expects Austria to join us more actively, 
and spoke without bitterness of the King of Prussia, whose 
hesitation he could well understand. He expressed himself 
very kindly about my brother, whose patriotism as a German 
he admired. This led us to the field of German Politics, 
on which I saw that he had the common dread of all French 
men, that Germany would become formidable if too strongly 
united, and fancied that, with Prussia and Austria constituted 
separately, the rest of the Grerman States might unite in a 
closer body. I explained to him that this plan was called that 
of the " Trias," was advocated by Bavaria for selfish purposes, 
but was based upon an entire want of knowledge of the real 
conditions of Germany, as, whilst Austria might be severed 
from the rest, Prussia could not be torn out of the system 
without destroying it in all its parts, and what remained, if 
this were done, could not preserve any moral or physical 


cohesion. Hanover, Mecklenburg, Oldenburg, &c., for in 
stance, were lying within Prussia, Protestant, and had almost 
no common interest with the Catholic south. 

The Emperor was much pleased with the visit of the King 
of the Belgians, but I could perceive that he had not lost his 
dread of him. The Duke of Brabant [the present King of the 
Belgians] struck him for his finesse at that early age ; " il lui 
avait dit des choses si fines, il avait ete tout etonne" He 
much blamed the conduct of the Belgian Government, which 
had made a constitutional point of the King s not visiting the 
Emperor, 2 which he characterised as an unwarranted inter 
ference with the King s freedom of action. I maintained 
that they had constitutionally a right to be heard in matters 
where the personal act of the Sovereign might influence the 
political position of the country, but that they had ires- 
mal choisi leur cas. 

Spain and Portugal. The King of Portugal had, the 
Emperor said, tout a fait gagne son cceur. He is anxious for 
the union of Spain and Portugal under the King. On my 
saying, (i que nous ne voulions cela du tout" he said, " Yes, 
je le sais bien ; Lord Clarendon n en veut rien entendre, mais 
je ne desespere pas de le convaincre I replied that it was 
contrary to the traditions of English policy that I could not 
believe for a moment in its happy realisation. The Spaniards 
despised the Portuguese, and the Portuguese hated them in 
return. Should Spain become a province of Portugal, or 
Portugal of Spain ? The Emperor called the mutual aver 
sion exaggerated, and thought it quite feasible to tell the 
Portuguese, "Jevous donne VEspagne, et aux Espagnols, je 
vous donne le Portugal. " I maintained, on the contrary, 
that an eclair cissement on that point would soon be asked for. 
and lead to immediate quarrel. Where should the capital 

2 The Ministry had resigned shortly before, in consequence of the King an 
nouncing his intention to visit Louis Napoleon at Boulogne. 


be ? As long as Madrid remained the capital, there was no 
hope of power for Spain, and certainty of increased poverty 
to Portugal. If Lisbon was chosen, it would soon make the 
kingdom very strong; both the dynasty and the capital, 
however, being chosen out of Spain, the whole centre of 
gravity was removed from it, which that proud nation would 
not put up with. If the attempt were made and failed, its 
failure would certainly bring ruin upon the poor King s 
dynasty in Portugal also. 

6 Italy and Poland. The Emperor said, the last evening, 
he had only two other political wishes, the one to see 
Lombardy free from the mal-administration of Austria, the 
other to see Poland restored. He wanted to know my views 
on both these subjects. As to the first, I declared that 
nobody wished it more than myself for Austria s own sake ; 
but there were two things we must remember, that Austria 
can never consent to the one : the establishment of the prin 
ciple that separate nationalities gave a right to indepen 
dence, which would be the death-warrant of the whole 
monarchy ; the other, her military frontier. She could not 
give up the line of the Mincio, and the campaigns of 1805 
and 1809 prove that, if the passes of the Tyrol were turned, 
there is no military position except in the rear of Vienna. 
The Emperor objected that this still left a large portion of 
Italy in the hands of Austria. I defied him to trace another 
tenable boundary on the map. He replied, that if military 
frontiers were an essential point for the existence of States, 
France also had claim to one. My answer was, that France 
had the best military frontier, her flanks covered by neutral 
Switzerland and neutral Belgium. He denied that neu 
trality was a real protection, as it was rarely maintained in 
time of war. As to Italy, he would be glad if even the 
Milanese only could be freed. I told him Austria herself had, 
in 1848, offered to give it up in whatever form England 


pleased, provided she would obtain a peace for her in return. 
Lord Palmerston had refused to entertain anything of the 
kind, insisting upon Austria giving up the whole of her 
Italian kingdom. The Emperor had never heard of this 
before, but called it a capital blunder of policy. 

I asked him, when he spoke of Poland, what he meant by 
it ? To go back to the first, or second, or third partition ? He 
answered, he would be content with ever so small a nucleus, 
and perfectly so with the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. He 
thought Galicia well governed, and the retention of both 
Austrian and Prussian Poland by these Powers as an 
essential feature in the scheme. He thought nothing would 
be so popular in France, England, and Germany. I agreed 
as to the two first, and particularly England, but ex 
pressed my doubt as to Germany. He maintained, he had 
been in Germany during the passing through of the Poles 
who fled their country after their revolution, and nothing 
could have exceeded the enthusiasm and national feeling for 
them. I could corroborate him as to the enthusiasm, but 
denied any national feeling. It was rather composed of 
hatred to Eussian tyranny and general compassion for suf 
fering patriots. Without the concurrence of Austria and 
Prussia there could be no hope for Poland. 

6 We had still one other discussion on the Schleswig-Hol- 
stein question, about which he confessed to the same igno 
rance which is common with English statesmen, and for the 
same reason, viz. the complication of the question, and the 
intolerably prolix and prosy manner in which the German 
publicists argued it. He was glad to receive from me a 
general condensed history of the whole transaction, and 
struck when I told him, that both he and his Government, 
as well as the English, had been made the mere tool of 
Kussia on that question. . . . 

6 Upon the whole, the impression which my stay at Bou- 


logne left upon me is, that naturally the Emperor would 
neither in home nor in foreign politics take any violent 
steps ; but that he appears in distress for means of govern 
ing, and obliged to look about for them from day to day. 
Having deprived the people of every active participation in 
the government, and having reduced them to mere passive 
spectators, he is bound to keep up the " spectacle," and, as at 
fireworks, whenever a pause takes place between the different 
displays, the public immediately grows impatient, and forgets 
what it has just applauded, and that new preparations require 
time. Still he appears to be the only man who has any 
hold on Francg, relying on the " nom de Napoleon" which 
is the last thing left to a Frenchman s faith. He said to 
the Duke of Newcastle : " Former Governments tried to 
reign by the support of perhaps one million of the educated 
classes. I have tried to lay hold of the other twenty-nine" 

He is decidedly benevolent and anxious for the good of 
his people, but has, like all rulers before him, a bad opinion 
of their political capacity. He will be exposed to one danger 
in his attempt at governing solely by himself, which has 
befallen almost every absolute monarch that he will be 
crushed under the weight of a mass of unimportant details 
of business, whilst the real direction of affairs may be filched 
from him by his irresponsible Ministers. 

6 On our drive to St. Omer, he was stopped by three couriers, 
who brought him different packets of despatches, which, 
after having read, he very kindly handed over to me for 
perusal. They were all police reports of different suspected 
persons, amongst them an analysis of Leon Faucher s last 
article in the Revue des Deux Mondes, which the writer 
wound up with the remark : " Le reste n est qu une re 
petition de Verreur populaire tant de fois repetee, que les 
finances d un gouvernement absolu ne peuvent pas etre en 
ordre" I could not but contrast the personal interest in 


such reports, and in his secret correspondence with private 
agents, with the indolence which prevents the attentive 
perusal of public documents, or even of the newspapers. 
His attachment to the Empress appears to be great. In 
the rank and position to which she has been elevated, she 
finds many enemies, and both long for a place of retirement 
in the South of France where they can live in privacy, and 
which Biarritz might become. 

4 The Emperor s best chance is the English alliance, which 
not only gives steadiness to his foreign policy, but, by pre 
disposing in his favour the English press, protects him from 
the only channel through which public opinion in France, 
if hostile to him, could find vent. I told him that we should 
be glad to see him in England, and that the Queen would 
be delighted to make acquaintance with the Empress. He 
gave no direct answer, but the expression of his hope that 
we would come in return to Paris for the Exhibition next 
year, when the Louvre would be finished. 

What, on the other hand, was the impression produced by 
the Prince upon the Emperor ? One of admiration from the 
first. The Emperor told me last night after the Prince 
had retired, Lord Cowley writes (6th September) to Lord 
Clarendon, that he was more pleased than he could say with 
all that he had heard from his Eoyal Highness ; that there 
was nothing so trying as making acquaintance, as it were, in 
public, but that the Prince had made it easy to him. . . I 
have endeavoured to ascertain what the Emperor says to 
others, and I can assure you that it is even more satisfactory 
than what he says to me. 

The combination in the Prince of courtesy, knowledge, 
sagacity, and fearless moral courage, seems to have exercised 
an irresistible charm upon the Emperor, and the warmth of 
this feeling is visible in the letter which he entrusted to the 


Prince to deliver to the Queen. k The presence, it bore, 
4 of Your Majesty s estimable Consort in the midst of a 
French camp is a fact of the utmost political significance, 
since it demonstrates the intimate union of the two countries. 
But to-day I prefer not to dwell on the political aspect of 
this visit, but to tell you in all sincerity how happy it has 
made me to be for several days in the society of a Prince so 
accomplished, a man endowed with qualities so seductive 
and with knowledge so profound. He may feel assured that 
he carries with him my sentiments of high esteem and 
friendship. But the more I have been enabled to appreciate 
Prince Albert, the more it behoves me to be touched by the 
kindness of Your Majesty in agreeing on my account to part 
with him for several days. 

Soon after Count Walewski s return to London he told 
Lord Clarendon, that the Emperor had spoken with enthu 
siasm of the Prince, saying that in all his experience he had 
never met with a person possessing such various and profound 
knowledge, or who communicated it with the same frankness. 
His Majesty added, that he had never learned so much in a 
short time, and was grateful/ 

M. Walewski went more fully into the subject a few weeks 
afterwards with the Belgian ambassador, M. Van de Weyer, 
in a conversation of which the following record was preserved 
in a letter of M. Van de Weyer s at the time to the present 
King of the Belgians : 

In my conversation with Count Walewski, we touched on 
certain points, which ii was understood I was not to refer to in my 
official correspondence. 

" Great events," he said to me, " have taken place since we last 
met, and certainly not the least of these is the meeting of Prince 
Albert and the Emperor. I have not forgotten the opinion yon 
Lave on several occasions expressed to me in speaking of the 
Prince, so that I am not speaking to one who has altered his 
views (un convert^." " The Prince," I said, interrupting him, " is 


in my eyes one of the highest intelligences of our time (une des in 
telligences lesplus supericures de Vepoque)" " These," he rejoined, 
" are precisely, identically, the Emperor s words ; had you heard 
him, you could not have expressed yourself in terms more nearly 
resembling his." " And," I added, " what completes the excellence 
of Prince Albert as a man, and as a politician, is that his heart 
and the straightforwardness of his character are on a level with 
his intelligence." " The Emperor," replied M. Walewski, " has 
been struck beyond measure with the depth and the justice of 
his views, and at my last audience the first words which he 
addressed to me were these : Savez-vous, Walewski, quefai un 
grand reprocke a vous faire ? C est que vous ne m avez pas assez 
souvent parle du Prince Albert, que vous ne m avez pas assez mis 
a ravance en mesure de I apprecier, et de connaitre tout le poids 
qu ont ses conseils en Angleterre, toute V influence qu il y exerce. 
I explained to the Emperor, how few opportunities diplomatists 
had at the Court of St. James s of becoming well acquainted with 
Prince Albert, whose extreme reserve, moreover, made any attempt 
to do so very difficult. Since our alliance, frequent communi 
cations have given me the means of forming a judgment ; and I 
share in all points the feeling of the Emperor." 

" During a carriage drive of six hours we had an opportunity," 
added the Emperor, in speaking to Walewski, "of getting to the 
closest quarters, and of thoroughly discussing all the great 
questions. Prince Albert spoke to me with a frankness, a 
sincerity, an abandon, which produced a deep impression upon me. 
We even touched upon very delicate points, among others, the 
kind of prejudice, of personal repugnance, which existed towards 
me at the English Court. The Prince s answers were most satis 
factory in every point of view. The very slowness with which he 
has to express himself in French is the result, not of an exces 
sive prudence, but of the desire to leave nothing obscure or vague." 
"You may judge by these words," added M. Walewski, "how 
much the Emperor appreciates the Prince, and what confidence he 
has in him. Do you know what was the impression on his side 
which the Prince brought back with him from Boulogne ? " " Away 
from official duty as I have been for the last six weeks," I replied, 
" I am completely in the dark as to what the world is saying on 
this subject, but I can a priori form an opinion for myself of what 
his impression was. The Prince, with his philosophical head and 


his gift of political insight, could not fail to comprehend and to 
rate at its true value the Emperor s calm, reflective, and positive 
mind/ ! 

"We shall have occasion hereafter to show that the better 
the Emperor of the French knew the Prince, the higher was 
his admiration for the qualities which he had recognised in 
him from the first. Writing on the 15th of August, 1857, 
to the Queen, after a short visit to Osborne, he spoke his 
conviction in a few words, which contain just such a pane 
gyric as probably the Prince would most have coveted 
Lorsqu on a su appreder les connaissances variees et le 
jugement eleve du Prince, on revient d aupres de lui plus 
instruit et plus apte a faire le bien. Yes, this was the 
Prince s best encomium, that it made all who came under 
his influence plus aptes a faire le lien. 



ON the 15th of September the Court reached Balmoral. The 
new house there had been roofed in, and the Prince was 
well satisfied with the general effect of the building. The 
same day tidings were received b} T the Queen of the sailing of 
the Allied forces for the Crimea upon the 7th. Since the 
Spanish Armada sailed from Lisbon in 1588, no such fleet 
had covered the seas as that which had been mustered at 
Yarna for this expedition ; and, carrying as it did the flower 
of both the English and French armies on an enterprise sur 
rounded with more than usual uncertainty, the anxiety may 
be imagined, with which further intelligence was looked for 
by the Queen and Prince. It came earlier than was expected. 
On the 21st a telegram from the Duke of Newcastle, dated 
at nine o clock the previous evening, announced that 25,000 
English, 25,000 French, and 8,000 Turks, had landed safely 
at Eupatoria, 4 without meeting with any resistance, and 
that they had at once begun to march on Sebastopol. 1 

Whilst all were flushed with this intelligence, Baron 
Stockmar arrived, the most welcome of guests, looking, the 
Prince notes, very -well and cheerful. Sir Greorge Grrey, 
who had accompanied the Queen to Balmoral as Minister in 
attendance, was laid up at Abergeldie from the effect of an 

1 The Duke received his information from the editor of the Morning 
Chronicle, who had communicated a te^gram from a private correspondent. 
The place of landing, it will le remembered, was at Old Fort, some distance 
from Eupatoria. 


accident ; and Her Majesty was looking eagerly for the 
arrival of Lord Aberdeen, who had been ill, and, as Sir James 
Graham wrote, needed a change of scene, and some North- 
country air to raise his spirits and restore his drooping 
energy. It was apparent that the severe strain of the last 
eighteen months had told so seriously upon his health, that, 
unless intermitted, it might become dangerous. On the 17th 
the Prince had written to him : 

We hope very much that you will not delay your journey 
to Scotland too long, for ourselves, and on your own account. 
The news from Sebastopol cannot come so fast as one fancies, 
and for any decision to be taken with respect to what may 
take place, that may be done from here as well as from 
London. There remains then the only argument for your 
staying, that you would be abused for coming away. This 
is very likely, as abusing you is a large portion of the trade 
of the political public ; but they will take any other ground, 
perhaps the very fact of your staying, in order to misrepresent 
the motive for it. As there is nothing real in it, however, it 
can do no harm. . . . London is really very unwholesome, 
and the mountain air will much refresh you. 

On the 22nd the Queen repeated, under her own hand, 
with increased urgency, her wish that Lord Aberdeen should 
seek the refreshment of his native air : 

The good news of the landing of the troops in the Crimea 
will have given Lord Aberdeen sincere pleasure. The Queen 
must now very strongly urge upon Lord Aberdeen the 
necessity for his health of his coming at once to Scotland. 
The siege of Sebastopol may be long and it is when Sebas 
topol is once taken, that the difficulties respecting what is 
to be done with it will arise and then Lord Aberdeen s 
presence will be necessary in town. Besides, a week of our 


short three weeks stay has already elapsed, and, if Lord 
Aberdeen delays longer, the reason for being near to the 
Queen (which he would be at Hadclo) would no longer exist. 
The Queen must therefore almost insist on his coming 
speedily north, where he will in a short time take in a stock 
of health, which will carry him well through the next winter 
and session. . . . Lord Aberdeen knows that his health is not 
his own alone, but that she and the country have as much 
interest in it as he and his own family have. 

Eeluctantly quitting his post at head-quarters in com 
pliance with these representations, Lord Aberdeen came to 
Balmoral, where he arrived on the 27th, much fagged and 
depressed. He remained, improving visibly during his brief 
stay, till the 30th, when he went to his own seat of Haddo 
in another part of Aberdeenshire. Scarcely had he done so, 
when a telegram from Lord Clarendon to the Queen an 
nounced, on the authority of Lord Stratford de EedclirTe, the 
successful issue of the attack of the Allied armies upon the 
Russian position at the Alma on the 20th of September. 
The same day brought another telegram, based on a report 
from Bucharest, that Sebastopol had fallen after an attack 
by sea and land. Had any due estimate been formed of the 
magnitude of the task which the Allied forces had set them 
selves, this second report could never have been treated as 
otherwise than most improbable. Yet in writing to the 
Queen (30th September), the Duke of Newcastle says : Con 
firmation of this blessed news will probably be received in 
the course of a few hours ; and even Lord Aberdeen, little apt 
as he was to be sanguine, admitted that he had brought 
himself to believe the report, notwithstanding 4 the absurdities 
and exaggerations of the account. In a letter to the Queen 
(1st October), after mentioning that the account of the victory 
on the Alma must be correct, he expresses his opinion that 


the other report may possibly be so too. At all events, we 
may fairly hope that the fall of Sebastopol cannot long be 
delayed. A few days reflection modified this hopefulness of 
view, and on the sixteenth he again writes to the Queen : If 
the garrison of Sebastopol remains entire, a first blow only 
has been struck, which still leaves much to be done, and 
gives rise to great anxiety. And in the same letter he refers 
to his personal remembrance of the fact, that at the time of 
the battle of Austerlitz the country was in ecstasy for three 
or four days at the report of a great victory obtained over 
the French, the truth of which was so fatally contradicted. 2 
Meanwhile, what was to be done with Sebastopol, if 
taken, was a question which had engaged the attention of 
the Ministry ever since the attack upon it had been finally 
resolved on. Lord Aberdeen was of opinion that it should 
be completely destroyed, as otherwise it might become a 
cause of quarrel. Lord John Russell was only for razing the 
seaward defences. They both concurred in thinking that the 
Crimea, if taken, should not be given to the Turks an opinion 
in which they were strongly supported by Lord Stratford de 
Kedcliffe, who, as Lord Aberdeen says in writing (15th Sept.) 
to Lord Clarendon, ( has more than once deprecated the idea 
of any increase of territory in that quarter. He knows them 
too well. The very opposite of these views, however, was at 
this time, and for some time afterwards, held by Lord Palmers- 
ton, his idea being that Sebastopol should not be destroyed, 

2 It is due to Lord Clarendon to say that he did not share the general 
belief. In writing to the Queen (1st October), to congratulate Her Majesty 
upon the victory with which Her Majesty s arms have been crowned in the 
first encounter with the enemy, he adds, with reference to the report of the 
fall of Sebastopol, The Kussians cannot have experienced great loss in their 
superior position ; and if 30,000 or 40,000 effected a safe retreat to Sebastopol, 
it is hardly credible that they should have surrendered the place in two days. 
By the 5th of October it was known in England that the rumour was pure 
fiction, resting on no better authority than the statement of a Tatar, whose 
very existence was more than doubtful. 



and that the Crimea should be added to the Turkish empire. 
Now that the fall of the great stronghold seemed to be 
imminent, Lord Aberdeen informed the Queen that he 
adhered to his first proposition for the immediate and entire 
destruction of the works. 

He did not see, he added, the advantage of doing the thing 
by halves ; while the destruction of the sea defences only might 
give rise to erroneous impressions, and would be of an equivocal 
character. The fall of Sebastopol would be, in fact, the conquest 
of the Crimea, and the Allies might winter there with perfect 
security, as by occupying the lines of Perekop, any access to the 
Crimea would effectually be prevented by land. Lord Aberdeen 
also thinks that with a view to peace, and the restitution of the 
Crimea to Russia, it would be more easy for the Emperor to 
accept the destruction of the fortifications when accomplished, 
than to agree to any stipulation having such an object. . . . The 
great objection to leaving the matter undecided appears to be the 
possibility of differences hereafter between France and England 
upon the subject. The Turks, too, might perhaps desire to have 
a voice in the matter, and might become troublesome. 

In acknowledging this letter next day, the Queen recorded 
her entire agreement in the statesmanlike views expressed 
in it. Long before a decision had to be taken, events had 
settled the question very conclusively. For the time, how 
ever, the divergence of opinion on the subject in the Cabinet 
added to the home troubles of its chief. These were neither 
few nor slight. Lord John Russell was again urging the im 
possibility of going on with a Parliament which had shown 
itself so intractable, and complaining with others of want of 
vigour in the conduct of the war. The hopes of immense 
achievements in the Baltic had been disappointed. What 
was it, that the Russian fleet had been kept in durance, if it 
was still safe? What that Bomarsund had been taken, if 
Sweaborg and Cronstadt still frowned defiance to our ships ? 
The fiery ardour of Sir Charles Napier, from which so much 


had been expected, had cooled, as many thought, without 
sufficient cause, and he was now engaged in a hostile contro 
versy with the First Lord of the Admiralty, that contrasted 
unpleasantly with the same official s recent panegyric of the 
hero of Acre at the Eeform Club dinner. In this corre 
spondence each tried to throw upon the other the blame 
with which the public, as both had begun to feel, intended to 
avenge its disappointment for the failure of the extravagant 
expectations which had been raised. 3 Great dissatisfaction 
was also finding a voice in the journals an echo of what was 
felt in the Black Sea fleet itself, at the want of energy and 
spirit, which, but for the presence of these qualities in Sir 
Edmund Lyons in an unusual degree, might have made our 
operations there even more abortive. Demands arose within 
the Cabinet for the recall of Admiral Dundas a step which, 
at such a critical moment, would certainly not have enhanced 
our prestige before our enemies or the world. Lord Raglan 
also was vehemently assailed, with how much consistency 
may be judged from the fact, that the same member of the 

3 Sir Charles Napier, speaking at a dinner at the Mansion House in Feb 
ruary 1855, made a vehement attack upon Sir James Graham, which he wound 
up with these words I state it to the public, and I wish them to know, that, 
had I followed the advice of Sir J. Graham, I should most inevitably have left 
the British fleet behind me in the Baltic. 1 This he undertook to prove before 
all the world a pledge which he was never allowed, and would probably have 
found it hard to redeem. The attack was made in terms so unseemly that the 
Government were asked in the House of Commons a few nights afterwards 
(16th February \ if they intended to take proceedings against the rebellious 
Admiral. He has proclaimed, himself a hero, was Sir James Graham s 
answer ; but it is not my intention to allow the gallant officer to dub himself 
a martyr as well as a hero ; and therefore it is not my intention to advise the 
Crown to take any further notice of the matter. Replying to a taunt about 
his speech at the Reform Club, Sir James Graham remarked, on the same occa 
sion, I underwent due correction in this House on the subject of that speech ; 
since that correction was made, I hope I have improved in prudence. The 
honour of Grand Cross of the Bath was offered a few months afterwards to 
Sir Charles Napier , but he declined it, stating in a letter to the Prince (6th 
July, 1855) as his reason for doing so. that having demanded a court-martial from 
the Admiralty to investigate his conduct, and this having been refused, he did 
not feel he could accept an honour till his character was cleared. 

K 2 


Government, who had been urgent for his trial by a Court 
of Inquiry, became equally urgent a week afterwards, when 
news of the victory of the Alma reached England, that he 
should at once receive the honour of the Garter. 

Meanwhile every day brought fresh tidings of the events 
of that memorable fight, when, in a few hours, the Eussian 
army was driven from a commanding position, which Prince 
Menschikoff had pledged himself to the Czar to hold against 
the invaders for three weeks. On the 8th Lord Burghersh 
arrived in London, bearing despatches from Lord Raglan with 
the details of the battle. His report as to the Commander-in- 
chief, said the Duke of Newcastle, writing to the Queen the 
same day, was that never for a moment did Lord Eaglan 
evince any greater excitement or concern than he shows on 
ordinary occasions. Never since the days of the Great Duke 
lias any army felt such confidence in and love for its leader, 
and never probably did any general acquire such influence 
over the Allies, with whom he was acting. To the same 
effect was the report, the day after the battle, of Brigadier 
General Hugh Rose (now Lord Strathnairn) to the Duke of 
Newcastle. f As my duty, he wrote, is to report to your lord 
ship facts, I certainly ought not to omit an important one, 
which ensured the success of the day. I speak of the perfect 
calmness of Lord Raglan under heavy fire, and his deter 
mination to carry the most difficult position in his front, 
a feat in arms which has excited the universal admiration 
of the French army. 

What Lord Raglan himself had to report of the conduct of 
the troops was all that could be wished. Wasted for two 
months previously by the scourge of cholera which pursued 
them to the very battle-field, exposed since they had landed 
in the Crimea to the extremes of wet, cold, and heat, in 
the ardour of the attack they forgot all they had endured, 
and displayed that high courage for which the British soldier 

1854 REACH ENGLAND. 133 

is ever distinguished ; and under the heaviest fire they main 
tained the same determination to conquer as they had ex 
hibited before they went into action. But the feeling s of 
triumph, with which a victory so brilliant was hailed within 
the Palace, were dashed with sadness at the thought of the 
price at which it had been bought. Accordingly we find the 
Queen writing to Lord Clarendon (10th October), that 
she fully enters into the feelings of exultation and joy at 
the glorious victory of the Alma, but this is somewhat 
damped by the sad loss we have sustained, and the thought 
of the many bereaved families of all classes, who are in 
mourning for those most dear to them. 

How eagerly the Prince studied every detail of what was 
passing in the Crimea during these eventful days, is shown by 
the care with which he accumulated whatever documents 
could bring most vividly into view every incident of impor 
tance. Among these, not the least interesting are letters 
from officers, written from their bivouacs, while the fever of 
the battle was still hot within their veins, and the bloody traces 
of the conflict were still before their eyes. To read such 
letters, with their records of daring and death, of privations 
uncomplainingly borne, and of manly gratitude for life and 
limb unhurt, stirs the heart strangely even after a long lapse 
of years. How must they have moved those who, like the 
Queen and Prince, were watching so intently every move 
ment of the tremendous drama which had now begun ! In 
all these letters the conduct of the troops troops for the 
most part new to active service is highly spoken of. Thus, 
for example, in one that is enriched by an admirable drawing 
of the ground over which the battle was fought, this 
passage occurs : The behaviour of the men has been beyond 
all praise, and I am confident, that having stood such a 
pounding as they did, their future success in any possible 
undertaking need not be doubted. 


The Prince was proud he had good reason to be so of 
the doings of his own regiment (1st Grenadier Guards), and 
he wrote to its commanding officer, Colonel Grosvenor Hood, 
as follows : 

My dear Colonel Hood I cannot resist writing you a 
line to express my admiration of the manner in which the 
battalion of my regiment under your command bore itself 
in that desperate fight at the Alma, and my pleasure and 
satisfaction at the fact, that upon the whole it suffered less 
in the action than the other battalions of our noble Brigade 
of Guards. I feel sure, that a good deal of this, as well as 
of the shock you were able to give the enemy, was owing to 
the judicious manner in which you re-formed your line under 
the bank of the river before advancing. 4 I am afraid you 
have all had to go through a good deal of hardship and 
privation, and that your labours will not yet be over ; but I 
trust that the same spirit and courage which have enabled 
you hitherto to surmount every difficulty, will attend you to 
the end, and that the Almighty will continue to bless the 
efforts of our brave army in the East. 

4 Some additional reinforcements are going out imme 
diately to keep your numbers full, but I am sorry to say the 
recruiting is going on very slowly. The Fusiliers and Cold- 
streams feel this still more, as they have only one battalion to 
draw upon for their reinforcements. Believe me always, &c. 


Windsor Castle, 17th October, 1854. 

Leaving Balmoral on the llth of October, the Court 
reached Windsor Castle on the 14th, having halted at 
Edinburgh and Hull on the way. The object in visiting 
Hull was to inspect the docks there, and also those at 

4 The successful operation here referred to is dwelt upon in Mr. Kinglake s 
work (vol. iii. p. 220, 6th edition). Colonel Hood was killed in the trenches 
at Sebastopol before this letter could have reached him. 


Grimsby, of which the Prince had laid the first stone on the 
18th of April, 1849. 5 At Edinburgh the Queen received 
intelligence that the idea of assaulting the north side of 
Sebastopol had been abandoned in deference to the views of 
General St. Arnaud, and that the army had made the cele 
brated flank march to Balaclava, and thereby secured a safe 
basis for future operations. It was not then known, that 
both Lord Raglan and Sir John Burgoyne had all along been 
favourable to the idea of attacking Sebastopol from the south, 
and that they were by no means insensible to the difficulties 
to be overcome before Sebastopol could be assaulted from the 
north. Despite what has been suggested to the contrary by 
the historian of the campaign, it would seem, that the line 
adopted by the Allies was due quite as much to this circum 
stance, as to the French Commander-in-chief s unwillingness 
to undertake the storming of the Star Fort which commanded 
the Belbek, and barred the advance upon the north side of 
the city. 6 Lord Kaglan would otherwise scarcely have been 
diverted from his original intention of following up the 
success at the Alma by an immediate advance and assault of 
Sebastopol at the nearest point. That the Allies committed 
a mistake in not pursuing this course has since been main 
tained by the Russians themselves. Whether this was so or 
not, is one of those questions where much may be said on 
both sides, but which, by their very nature, admit of no 
certain conclusion. In the same category may be classed 
the question, whether they were not again mistaken in 
not at once delivering an assault when they reached the 
south side. Much controversy arose on both points, when it 
was seen, that, having lost their first opportunity for an assault, 

5 See vol. ii. ante, p. 167. 

6 See Memorandum by Sir John Burgoyne, published by Major Elphinstone 
in the official account of the siege of Sebastopol, Part I. p. 107; also letters by 
Sir John Burgoyne published in his Life and Correspondence by Lieut. -Col. 
Wrottesley, E. E. London, 1873. Vol. ii. pp. 93 and 161. 


the Allied armies were compelled to prepare for a protracted 
siege. But, on the tidings of the flank inarch first reaching 
England, it was regarded as a masterly conception brilliantly 
carried out, while in fact it was simply a most hazardous 
venture, that owed its success to the lucky accident of the 
Russian army under Menschikoff having just before been 
withdrawn from Sebastopol, and carried beyond the line of 
march of the Allies. 

The Russians were not slow to profit by the delay in the 
attack upon Sebastopol, and by the 24th of October our 
Government were in possession of disquieting information, 
that the difficulties of the siege were much more serious 
than had been anticipated. From Hull the Queen wrote the 
following letter to King Leopold : 

Hull, 13th October, 1854. 

We are, and indeed the whole country is, entirely en 
grossed with one idea, one anxious thought, the Crimea. 
We have received all the most interesting and gratifying 
details of the splendid and decisive victory of the Alma. 
Alas ! it was a bloody one. Our loss was heavy, many have 
fallen and many are wounded. But my noble troops behaved 
with a courage and determination truly admirable. The 
Russians expected their position would hold out three weeks. 
Their loss was immense ; the whole garrison of Sebastopol 
was out. Since then the army has performed a wonderful 
march to Balaclava, and the bombardment of Sebastopol has 
begun. Lord Raglan s behaviour was worthy of the Old 
Duke s such coolness in the midst of the hottest fire. . . . 
I feel so proud of my dear noble troops, who, they say, bear 
their privations, and the sad disease which still haunts them, 
with the greatest courage and good-humour. 

Meanwhile the negotiations with Austria for a concerted 
action were again marred by Prussia s declaration that, 
should Austria enter the field against Russia, she would 


consider herself absolved from the conditions of the defensive 
and offensive treaty which subsisted between Austria and 
herself. When this became known, the indignation roused 
against Prussia both in England and France was so great, 
that the Prince considered it expedient to call the attention 
of the Prince of Prussia (now Emperor of Grermany), in the 
following letter, to the serious alienation between the coun 
tries likely to ensue from Prussia s perseverance in this line 
of policy : 

The present moment is so critical, and seems to me to 
be so decisive for the future destiny of Prussia, that I can 
not refrain from writing a few lines to you. I enclose (in 
strictest confidence) the copy of a letter, which I wrote to 
the King now two months ago. 7 Everything of which I there 
expressed myself apprehensive, has since then either proved 
true, or is in the way of becoming so. The feeling of 
soreness here and in France against Prussia is upon the in 
crease, people regarding her as the only friend of Russia, 
and the only reason why an united Europe is unable to put 
a speedy stop to the war. Much blood, and of the best in 
England, has flowed, and men are in nowise different from 
beasts in this if they have seen blood, they are no longer 
the same an.d are not to be controlled. Sinope swept us out 
of the career of diplomatic negotiations all at once into 
that of military demonstrations, and so on into war. The 
Alma and Sebastopol have obliterated the Eastern Question, 
and the cry is now for the annihilation of Russia. Already 
the talk in Paris is of the restitution of Poland, and this finds 
an echo in England ; and in Boulogne the army, as I now 
hear, was in hopes to have to fight next year with Prussia. 

The danger of a general European war may probably be 
averted, if Austria, joins our alliance franldy and fairly. 
Meanwhile to prevent this seems to be the main object of 

7 This was the letter cited aLove, p. 97. 


the present Prussian policy, because perhaps those who sway 
it feel, that they must soon either follow suit, or have to 
confront all Europe single-handed. The greater meanwhile 
the efforts are, which are demanded from France, the greater 
will be the claims which she will feel herself justified in 
putting forward at the end of the war; and the more 
thoroughly we shall have to bear the brunt of the conflict 
with France as our only ally, the more shall we be com 
pelled to give our full support to these claims, however little 
in our hearts we may approve them. What other country, of 
which history tells, has ever had to pay smart-money like 
Prussia ? And why was this, but because she was disunited, 
and out of sheer weakness pursued an ambiguous policy ? 

* These are all apprehensions which press upon me, and 
which I could not refrain from imparting to you for what 
they are worth. I fear, moreover, that passion will lead to 
injustice, as the attacks of our press on Prussia already show 
that they provoke the same feelings and the same faults in 
Prussia ; and, no doubt, before long, nations, which have 
every reason and every interest to maintain the warmest 
mutual friendship, will be misled into the foolish notion 
that they should in fact be enemies, and hate each other. 
For to be able to revile the King (take The Times for 
example) without pouring obloquy on the nation, is a feat 
too difficult for mortal ingenuity to accomplish. 

You will of course follow the operations in the Crimea 
with great interest, being a soldier, and knowing the contend 
ing armies so well as you do. Ours has shown great gallantry 
in storming the redoubt upon the Alma, and the flank march 
to Balaclava reflects the highest honour on whoever devised 
it. It is ascribed to Sir John Burgoyne, 8 and to the circurn- 

8 And with truth (see ante, p. 13o, note 6). Sir John Burgoyne s reasons 
for attacking Sebastopol from the south, as given in his published correspon 
dence, seem to be unanswerable ; but, indeed, after yielding to the objections to 


stance that the French shrank from attacking the redoubts 
on the Belbek, which lay on their line of march. Our 
army took the place of honour at the Alma, forming as it 
did the left wing, which was uncovered ; it led the van upon 
the march, and is now once more, at the request of our Allies, 
the uncovered right wing of the besieging army south of 
Sebastopol. To Lord Raglan this request gives as much 
pleasure as a victory over the Russians. Most strange it is 
that the Russians at the Alma left all their wounded to their 
fate and to our mercy, that they brought no colours into 
action, and that the Emperor has not sent one of his sons to 
the army ! 9 

4 Farewell ! Say everything that is kind from me to your 
dear son, and think like a friend of your faithful kinsman, 


Windsor Castle, 23rd October, 1854. 

A few days brought intelligence which somewhat abated 
the high expectations raised by the success of the flank 
march. Profiting by the failure of the Allied armies to 
follow it up by an assault on Sebastopol, the Russians, who 
had been indefatigable in throwing up works of defence, had 
made their position so secure, that it was now beginning to 
be seen that a siege, and probably a protracted one, was in 
evitable. When the Allies opened fire on the 17th of October, 
the French batteries were silenced in a few hours, and the 
English guns had enough to do to hold their own against 
the vigorous fire of the Russian batteries. Reinforcements 
were pouring into the Crimea ; the troops which had been 
withdrawn from the town were brought back, and the be 
siegers were themselves compelled to stand on the defensive ; 

attacking the fort on the Belbek, what choice was left but to seek a base for 
operations at Balaclava and the other harbours south of Sebastopol ? 

9 Before this letter was written two of them, the Archdukes Michael and 
Nicholas, were on their way to Sebastopol, where their arrival was signalised 
by the memorable attack on our lines at Inkermann on the oth of November. 


with the long nights coming on, and the rigours of winter, 
for which they were unprepared, staring them in the face. 
On the 3 1 st of October a telegram through a Russian channel 
conveyed the tidings that General Liprandi had attacked the 
English detached camp at Balaclava on the 25th, with the 
startling result that four redoubts which covered the camp 
had been taken with their guns, and that the English had 
lost half their Light Cavalry under Lord Cardigan. Coming 
through such a channel, it was hoped the extent of the 
disaster might have been exaggerated ; but after a few days 
of most painful suspense, this hope was dispelled by intelli 
gence which reached the Government on the 4th of November. 
It was some days later before the full story was known of the 
battle of Balaclava, and of the fatal charge of the Light 
Brigade, from which only 195 men out of 673 returned. 

Meanwhile the greatest anxiety prevailed throughout the 
kingdom, for although it could be seen even from the 
Eussian telegram that the honours of the day remained with the 
English, these honours had been too dearly won by a porten 
tous loss in the arm in which they were already too weak. 
In any case, it was certain that the Allied armies would find 
themselves taxed to the uttermost to meet the forces which 
the Czar was preparing to launch against them. The effect 
of the occupation of the Principalities by Austria had been 
to set free the Russian invading army, and to pla/je it at the 
disposal of the Czar for use in the Crimea. It became, 
therefore, of the highest importance to engage her in active 
operations on the side of France and England, and by in 
creasing in this way the pressure on Russia to strengthen 
the chances of an early peace. Moreover, if Austria continued 
to maintain a merely passive attitude, the chances were that 
France, indignant that the German Powers should throw 
upon herself alone with England the burden of repressing by 
force of arms the outrage perpetrated by Russia on public 


law and on the peace of Europe, which they had joined the 
Western Powers in reprobating in words, would seek before 
long to gratify her old ambition by attacking Austria in 
Italy and Germany on the Ehine. The voice of King 
Leopold, intimately related as he was with the Austrian 
Court through the marriage of his son with the Emperor s 
sister, might be presumed to have weight at Vienna in the 
present crisis. It was very natural, therefore, that the 
Prince, in the course of his regular correspondence with the 
King, should not hesitate to express his apprehensions, that 
the war, if protracted, would spread from Turkey to the 
centre of Europe ; and he spoke out with his accustomed 
frankness in the following letter : 

Dearest Uncle, .... I can quite imagine that you 
should be greatly disquieted by the present state of politics, 
especially looking forward to the coming year. If the 
general war is to be averted, which may perhaps lead to a 
change of the cards of all Europe (as the current phrase goes), 
this can only be effected by Austria and Prussia going frankly 
and fairly (aufrichtig) hand in hand with the Western 
Powers, not for the purpose of shielding Russia from their 
hostility, which even you seem to dread may be carried too 
far. but in order to protect Europe from the serious dangers 
which would result from Eussia being compelled to make 
peace. That a peace shall be concluded before Russia has 
sustained blows altogether different from those which we 
have hitherto been able to inflict on her, I cannot conceive, 
when I reflect not merely on the character of the Emperor 
Nicholas, but also on the political situation with respect to 
his own subjects, into which he has brought himself by the 
war. On the other hand, honour forbids us, and the very 
instinct of self-preservation forbids the Emperor Napoleon, to 
forbear from turning to account all the resources we can 


command to force him to terms. But, therefore, whether 
Sebastopol fall or not, there is not in my opinion the slightest 
hope that peace can be arrived at during the winter by way 
of advice or discussion, &c. &c., and I fear that those who 
set up this as their aim will do no good, and that they will 
only expose themselves to the risk of being misconstrued. 
To my mind the only practical question is, what will be 
the character of the war next year ? Will it be carried on by 
United Europe against Eussia, or by an Europe divided into 
two camps, on the Rhine and in Italy ? That we cannot wish 
for the latter contingency admits of no doubt. But if it is 
to be averted, we must all do our best to bring about the 
other alternative. Oh, that the politicians of the Continent 
might be penetrated by this truth ! 

You speak in your letter with unmistakeable bitterness of 
our French Alliance, which you call " uppermost in every 
thing." And so it is, but simply because it is our only 
Alliance, and because both parties contribute equal sacrifices 
without reserve paripassu to the common object. That our 
regard is, as you observe, not reciprocated in France, may be 
true just at present. So it may have been at the outset of 
the war, but it is impossible that the armies of the two 
countries should share dangers and privations in common, 
and with so much devotion too, without this reacting upon 
the sentiments of the nations themselves ; and the idea, 
which of late has been frequently expressed, " que, seule, la 
France a ete exposee a des revers, qu\dliee a I Angleterre 
elle est invincible" contains a certain satisfaction to the 
vanity of the French nation. For us the danger will no 
doubt be serious, should France play us false, and actually 
turn against ourselves the vast warlike preparations which 
we have joined her in developing ; and there are not wanting 
people in France, to represent to the Emperor the risk he 
runs in making common cause with " perfide Albion" which 

1 854 TO KING LEOPOLD. 143 

may in the end play the traitor, and ally itself with his 
enemies; but as men of honour nejther he nor we can 
entertain such a thought for a moment. 

The longer Eussia s resistance lasts, and the longer the 
struggle is devolved on France and England alone, the more 
compact must their alliance become. As, then, France and 
Napoleon are under all circumstances sure to cherish their 
traditional arrieres pensees of territorial aggrandisement at 
their neighbours expense, the risk, as far as these neigh 
bours are concerned, certainly is, that England may some 
day have to stand by and see things done, which she herself 
cannot desire, but must uphold in the interest of her ally. 
This danger, I repeat, Austria, Prussia, and Germany may 
avert by acting with us, not in the manipulation of Protocols, 
which leave everything to the exertions of the Western 
Powers, and have no other object but to make sure that no 
harm is done to the enemy. Such a course is dishonour 
able, immoral, leads to distrust, and ultimately to direct 
hostility. Already the soreness of feeling here against 
Prussia is intense, nor can it be less in France. I have 
made the Prince of Prussia aware of my anxiety on this 

. . . We are in a state of terrible excitement about 
Sebastopol, as we get nothing but Eussian news, and our own 
comes so late, and in such fragments, that it is difficult to 
make either head or tail of it. The want of cavalry is a 
terrible drawback to us. Nevertheless I have a firm con 
viction the city will fall before long. 

Windsor Castle, 6th November, 1854. 

The following day came intelligence that the redoubts lost 
on the 25th of October had been lost, not by English, but by 
Turkish soldiers, and that against the havoc in the Light 
Cavalry Brigade might be set a severe defeat previously 


inflicted on the Kussian horse by our Heavy Cavalry. 10 But at 
the same time we heard of the attack made on the 26th on 
the English position at Inkermann. Gallantly although it 
had been beaten back by Sir de Lacy Evans, still, besides 
the present sacrifice of men, it showed the danger to which 
we were exposed from the superior numbers of the enemy a 
danger of which a terrible illustration was to be given a few 
days afterwards in the deadly onslaught of the 5th of 
November. To add to our disquietude, despatches from 
Lord Kaglan, dated the 20th of October, announced that his 
force was reduced t$ 1 6,000 men ; that the siege was making 
very slow progress, and that it was doubtful whether he 
could keep his forces in the Crimea during the winter, even 
although Sebastopol should be taken. It was under the 
anxiety caused by this state of things that the following 
letter by the Queen to King Leopold was written : 

}<i The public attention has always been so much drawn to the magnificent, 
1 iit disastrous charge of the Light Brigade, that justice has scarcely been done 
to the splendid valour of our Heavy Cavalry Brigade at an earlier part of the 
same day. We cannot forbear from enriching our pages with the description 
of that great feat of arms by Colonel G. B. Hamley, a gentleman who combines 
in himself the scholar s, soldier s eye, pen, sword, and who in a few vivid 
sentences brings the scene, as in a picture, before our eyes : 

All who had the good fortune to look down from the heights on that 
brilliant spectacle must carry through life a vivid remembrance of it. The 
plain and surrounding hills, all clad in sober green, formed an excellent back 
ground for the colours of the opposing masses the dark grey Russian column 
sweeping down in multitudinous superiority of numbers on the red-clad squad 
rons, that, hindered by the obstacles of the ground on which they were moving, 
advanced slowly to meet them. There was a clash and fusion, as of wave 
meeting wave, when the head of the column encountered the leading squadrons 
of our brigade, all those engaged being resolved into a crowd of individual 
horsemen, whose swords rose and fell and glanced. So for a minute or two 
they fought, the impetus of the enemy s dense column carrying it on and 
pressing our combatants back for a short space ; till the 4th Dragoon Guards, 
coming clear of a wall which was between them and the enemv, charged the 
Kussian flank, while the remaining regiment of the brigade went in, in support 
of those which had first attacked. Then almost, it seemed, in a moment and 
simultaneously the whole Kussian mass gaA e way and fled, at speed and in 
disorder, beyond the hill, vanishing behind the slope some four or five minutes 
after they had first swept over it. Ed in. JRcv. vol. cxxviii. p. 408. 


Windsor Castle, 7th November, 1854. 

You must forgive my letter being short, but we are so 
much busied and occupied with the mails which have 
arrived, and the news from Sebastopol, that I have hardly a 
moment to write. We have but one thought, and so has the 
whole nation, and that is Sebastopol. Such a time of sus 
pense, anxiety, and excitement, I never expected to see, 
much less to feel. The feeling against Kussia and the Em 
peror, who has to answer before Grod for the lives of so many 
thousands, becomes stronger and stronger as each mail brings 
the report of fresh victims of the obstinate resistance of the 
besieged. Peace is further distant than ever, and I fear the 
war will be a lengthened, and finally a general one. Austria 
could help its conclusion, if she would but act. 

We. were still dependent exclusively on telegrams for our 
information as to the events of the 25th and 26th of October. 
These were of the most contradictory kind ; but even when 
construed in the sense most favourable to ourselves, they 
were calculated to inspire the utmost anxiety, when coupled 
with the authentic intelligence from Lord Raglan of the low 
point to which our forces had been reduced on the 22nd of 
that month. So keenly did the Queen and Prince feel the 
necessity for strengthening the army, without an hour s delay, 
that the Prince wrote the following letter to Lord Aberdeen, 
pressing the subject on his attention : 

My dear Lord Aberdeen, This morning s accounts of 
the losses in the Crimea, &c., the want of progress in the 
siege, with an advancing adverse season and the army of the 
enemy increasing, must make every Englishman anxious for his 
gallant brothers in the field, and the honour of his country. 

6 The Government will never be forgiven, and ought 
never to be forgiven, if it did not strain every nerve to avert 
the calamity of seeing Lord Raglan succumb for want of 



means. We have sent out as many troops as this country 
can provide, leaving barely sufficient for the depots to train 
and drill the men, who are to supply the vacancies caused by 
the exigencies of the service in the field of the regiments 
now out. But we have gone on in the beaten track of 
routine without any extraordinary effort. The recruiting 
does not keep pace even with the losses in the East, much 
less does it give us the augmentation required, as the recruits 
are mere boys, unfit for foreign service for two years to 
come. The Militia is incomplete, entirely composed of 
volunteers, of whom in some regiments more than half are 
not forthcoming from one time of training to the next. The 
volunteering for the Militia, instead of adding to the avail 
able force, has acted as a competition against the enlistment 
in the army ! 

The time is arrived for vigorous measures, and the 
feeling of the country is up to support them, if Government 
will bring them boldly forward. 

6 The measures immediately wanted, according to my 
views, are : 

Firstly. The immediate completion of the Militia by 
ballot, according to the law of the land, and the proper 
inspection and organisation of the same. 

Secondly. The obtaining the power for the Crown to 
accept the offers of Militia regiments to go abroad, and the 
relief of some of our regiments in the Mediterranean by these 
Militia regiments. 

6 Thirdly. The sending on of these relieved regiments to 
Lord Raglan. 

Fourthly. The obtaining the power for the Crown of 
enlisting foreigners. 

Fifthly. Immediate steps for the formation of foreign 
legions, to be attached eventually to Lord Eaglan. 


6 Sixthly. A proclamation inviting Militiamen to volunteer 
into regiments of the Line. 

6 These measures might be taken on the responsibility of 
the Government, awaiting an Act of Indemnity, or might be 
laid before Parliament, convened for the purpose. Pray 
consider this with your colleagues. 

The Queen would wish you to come down here this 
evening to stay over-night. The Duke of Newcastle will be 
here, and we should like to talk these matters over with 
you. Ever yours truly. 

Windsor Castle, llth November, 1854. 

This letter was read by Lord Aberdeen to the Cabinet the 
same day ; but they were opposed, as we learn from the 
Prince s Diary, to the proposal to raise a foreign legion, and 
to the completion of the Militia by ballot. The Prince, 
however, it was quickly shown by the progress of events, had 
formed a juster estimate of the exigencies of the case, and of 
the means of meeting them, which were within our reach. 
Within a few weeks every one of his suggestions had to be 
adopted, and in the short session of Parliament at the end 
of this year measures were passed, but not without vehement 
opposition, to authorise the raising of a Foreign Legion, and 
to enable the Government to send the Militia to the stations 
in the Mediterranean, and so to make the regiments there 
available for service in the Crimea. 11 

l - How true the Prince s forecast of the necessity for these measures had 
been, may be judged from a letter of Lord Palmerston s (then Premier) to 
Lord Panmure (then Secretary for War), on the 10th of June, 185o : We are 
40,000 men short of the number voted by Parliament. . . . Let us get as many v 
Germans and Swiss as we can ; let us get men from Halifax ; let us enlist 
Italians ; and let us forthwith increase our bounty at home without raising 
the standard. Do not let departmental, or official, or professional prejudices 
and habits stand in our way. The only answer to give to objectors on such 
grounds is, the thing must be done ; we must have troops. Life of Lord 
Palmcrston, vol. ii. p. 98. 

L 2 


Despatches from Lord Raglan down to the 28th of October, 
with the full story of the memorable events of the 25th 
and 26th, reached England on the 12th of November. In a 
private Despatch to the Duke of Newcastle, written on the 
former of those days, Lord Eaglan adds some interesting 
particulars : 

* You will hardly he prepared, he writes, for the bad conduct 
of the Turkish troops, which showed no fight whatever, and 
abandoned works without the attempt to defend them, which, 
though paltry enough, I am assured were superior to Arab Tabia 
[at Silistria], that a handful of men held so long against all the 
efforts of GortschakofF s army ; and thus they lost us seven guns 
of position, which I thought would be safe in their hands, at 
least for some hours. To contrast their conduct with that of 
our own people, it is worthy of mention that in each of the 
redoubts we had one single artilleryman to show the Turks how 
to use our guns. This man spiked the guns in the works, with 
one exception, alone and single-handed, whilst the Turks aban 
doned their duty and left him to shift for himself. 

But you will be much more shocked to see the loss sustained 
by our Light Cavalry. This, indeed, is a heavy misfortune, not 
withstanding the brilliancy of their conduct, and I feel it most 

Lord Raglan then gives his own account of how the order 
sent to Lord Lucan which led to the catastrophe came to be 
misapprehended a subject afterwards of painful controversy. 
4 Fatal mistake ! he concludes. My only consolation is the 
admirable conduct of the troops, which was beyond all praise. 

In another private Despatch Lord Raglan tells the Duke of 
Newcastle that what he wanted at the moment was troops of 
the best quality. Ten thousand men would make us com 
fortable. As it is, the Divisions employed are overworked, and 
of necessity scattered over a too extensive position, and we 
are enabled, and that with difficulty, to give but one British 
Brigade, the Highlanders, for the defence of Balaclava, 


assisted, however, by marines and sailors, and a French 

The accounts from General Canrobert as to the dwindling 
away of the British force, on which the stress of the Kussian 
attack had hitherto exclusively fallen, had aroused the 
apprehensions of the Emperor of the French. He deter 
mined at once on sending large reinforcements to the Crimea, 
and expressed in person to our Ambassador in Paris the hope 
that England would help him with ships, as he was ready to 
send out every man he had. He had already employed every 
disposable ship, including his own yacht ; and he wished the 
steam fleet to be recalled from the Baltic, and employed for 
purposes of transport. Everything, he urged, must be done 
to avert the risk of a misadventure in the East. 

Happily the English Government were in a position to meet 
the demand for ships, and on the 12th of November Sir James 
Graham was able to assure the Queen, that English transports 
were already on their way from the Black Sea to Toulon to 
embark French troops, and that an additional fleet of steam 
transports would be sent to Toulon from England, which 
would embark 8,000 men there before the 10th of December. 
In fact, provision had already been made for despatching 
6,000 English and 20,000 French troops, to arrive in the 
Crimea before Christmas. Provision had also been made for 
housing and clothing the men for the winter, through which 
it was now too probable the siege would be prolonged. Huts, 
as Lord Hardinge wrote to the Prince, to house 20,000 men 
had been ordered, and in the same letter (20th November) 
he spoke of large stores of warm clothing, great coats, and 
blankets, as having been already sent out and received. 
Had they reached their destination, they would, no doubt, 
have been ample to keep at bay the rigours of the Crimean 
climate. But owing to a disastrous combination of circum 
stances they did not do so ; and for many weeks afterwards 


the English newspapers that reached the camp and spoke of 
warm clothing, supplies of fuel, extra articles of diet and 
medical comforts, as having been provided for the troops, 
seemed a mockery to the poor fellows, who, with scanty 
rations and in threadbare and tattered clothes, were enduring 
the most cruel fatigues, aggravated by all the inclemencies 
of wind and rain, and snow and cold, upon the bleak heights 
of the Tauric Chersonese. 


HAD any stimulus been needed to enforce the necessity for 
sending reinforcements with the utmost despatch to the 
diminished ranks of the Allies, it would have been supplied 
by the tidings which reached France and England by tele 
graph on the 13th of November. An English telegram told 
of an attack made on the 5th by the Russians with very 
superior forces on the right of the English position, of a battle 
which raged with great severity from before daybreak till late 
in the afternoon. It spoke of the Russians as having been 
driven back with enormous loss, estimated at from 8,000 to 
9,000 men, but it also told that the English loss had been very 
great. This was confirmed by a telegram from General 
Canrobert, communicated by the French Grovernment, which 
admitted that the brilliant feat of arms, accomplished by 
6 the remarkable solidity with which the English army main 
tained the battle, supported by a portion of General Bosquet s 
division, had not been achieved without some loss to the 
Allies. How great the proportions of the struggle had been 
was manifest from the fact, at the same time announced, that 
it had been waged with the whole Russian army at Sebastopol, 
augmented by vast reinforcements hurried up from the Danube 
and the Southern provinces, and animated by the presence of 
the Grand Dukes Nicholas and Michael. Days were to elapse 
before a telegram from Lord Raglan explained the full cost 
at which victory had been purchased, 1 and the first feeling 

1 The English loss was, including officers, 2,573 men killed and wounded ; 
the French loss was 1,800 in killed and wounded. The Russian loss has 


throughout the country was less that of elation at a great 
victory, than of anxiety for the gallant remnant of the men by 
whom it had been won. 

On the day the first telegrams were received, the Prince s 
Diary contains the following entry : Great excitement in 
the country, universal outcry for reinforcements, every avail 
able man ought to be sent. What men were and were not 
available he seems to have known from the records of the 
strength of both our warlike establishments, which he compiled 
for the Queen s use, and he lost not an hour in putting his 
views before the Duke of Newcastle in the following letter: 

6 My dear Duke, The last accounts of the 6th make us 
naturally fear that Lord Raglan s force must have been 
reduced much further, and every nerve ought to be strained 
to reinforce him. I see from the comparative statement of 
the establishments at home and abroad, that we have the 
18th, 51st, 54th, 66th, 71st, 72nd, 80th, 82nd, 90th, 91st 
and 94th at home. Some of these may be mere skeletons ; 
the 90th is under orders ; but is there no other fit for foreign 
service ? The 18th, of which a portion is here, seems com 
plete, and is most anxious to be sent out. What can be sent 
should be, and without the loss of a day ! There are also 
600 marines at Portsmouth unemployed, and some of the 
screw line-of-battle-ships might go empty with the troops, 
take the armament out of the sailing ships at the Crimea, 
and send these empty home. This may not be according to 
dockyard routine, but nevertheless may be feasible. Pray, 
don t leave a stone unturned ! Ever yours truly. 

Windsor Castle, 13th November, 1854. 

This letter crossed communications from both Lord Aber- 

been variously computed by English authorities from 15,000 to 20,000. The 
Russian official reports, however, place it at 11,959 in killed, wounded, and 


deen and the Duke of Newcastle to the Queen, informing 
Her Majesty of arrangements which had been made by the 
Cabinet that day for the relief of the English forces in 
the Crimea. An active correspondence ensued between the 
Duke, Lord Hardinge, and the Prince, as to the strength of 
the reinforcements to be sent, and the regiments from which 
they were to be taken. The Prince, remembering doubtless 
Lord Raglan s desire to have the best troops, laid great stress 
upon rilling up as far as possible the gaps which had been made 
in the regiments of the Guards. Pray, he wrote to Lord 
Hardinge (16th November), let the rule of your measure be, 
to send out everything that is effective in the Guards, as that 
is what is really wanted. . . . The battles fought must have 
cost them 150 each, leaving 350 in the ranks. If not strongly 
reinforced, they are as battalions useless. Whatever is done, 
however, I repeat my hope, that an immediate decision will 
be come to and no time lost. 

The Prince might well urge the utmost despatch, for a 
telegram received that morning from Lord Raglan bore 
that our losses had been very great. Three general officers, 
Sir George Cathcart, General Strangways, and General Goldie, 
had been killed, and another, General Torrens, had been dan 
gerously wounded. All were men of the highest distinction, 
and their loss was most serious. Amidst the prevailing 
anxiety, the Prince continued to maintain his confidence in the 
ultimate success of the enterprise, and did his best to inspire 
others with his own feeling. It is cheering, the Duke of 
Newcastle writes to him (16th November), that your 
Royal Highness keeps up your spirits in the circumstances of 
the present most anxious and trying times, and most devoutly 
I trust that the grounds of hope I dare not say confidence 
explained by your Royal Highness, may prove to be sure 
and safe. That the victory gained by the Allies was a sub 
stantial one, could not be doubted, and it was hoped that the 


gigantic effort which had been made against them would not 
readily be renewed. If we had learned from the events of the 
day to measure our enemies strength more accurately than 
before, they on the other hand had learned that mere weight 
of numbers was of small account against an adversary, who 
seemed to grow in strength the heavier the odds against 
him. By this time, too, considerable reinforcements from 
France and England must have reached the Crimea, and we 
should be in a better position to meet any fresh assault on 
our position. 

Hitherto the honour of Field-Marshal had been withheld 
from Lord Eaglan, in the daily hope of the fall of Sebastopol, 
but it was thought by the Government that the opportunity 
afforded by this last action, the brunt of which had fallen on 
the British troops, was a .good one for testifying the nation s 
recognition of his services. In this view, communicated by 
Lord Aberdeen to the Queen (17th November), Her Majesty 
next day expressed her entire concurrence, transmitting to 
him at the same time the following letter by herself to Lord 
Raglan, to be forwarded to him, after being read by Lord 
Aberdeen and the Duke of Newcastle : 

Windsor Castle, 18th November, 1854. 

6 The Queen has received with pride and joy the tele 
graphic news of the glorious but, alas ! bloody victory of the 
5th. These feelings of pride and satisfaction are, however, 
painfully alloyed by the grievous news of the loss of so many 
generals, and in particular of Sir Greorge Cathcart, who was 
so distinguished and excellent an officer. 

We are most thankful that Lord Raglan s valuable life 
has been spared, and the Queen trusts that he will not 
expose himself more than is absolutely necessary. The 
Queen cannot sufficiently express her high sense of the great 
services he has rendered and is rendering to her and to the 


country, by the very able manner in which he has led the 
bravest troops that ever fought, troops whom it is a pride to 
her to be able to call her own. 

6 To mark the Queen s approbation, she wishes to confer 
on Lord Eaglan the Baton of Field-Marshal. It affords her 
the sincerest gratification to confer it on one who has so 
nobly earned the highest rank in the army, which he so long 
served in under the immortal hero, who, she laments, could 
not witness the success of a friend he so greatly esteemed. 

6 Both the Prince and Queen are anxious to express to 
Lord Raglan their unbounded admiration of the heroic 
conduct of the army, and their sincere sympathy in their 
sufferings and privations so nobly borne. 2 

Another duty, which the Queen felt to be no less incum 
bent on her, Avas discharged the same day. It was to address 
a letter of sympathy to the widow of General Cathcart. No 
one, who had fallen on that fatal 5th of November, was so 
deeply regretted by the Queen and Prince as this distin 
guished officer. Returning to England from the Cape, 
where he had brought a difficult war to a successful close, he 
had gone out at once to the Crimea, landing there in the 
same battered uniform which he had worn throughout the 
Caffre war. His experience, genius, and energy, had desig 
nated him as a man most likely at no distant date to have 
the command in chief. In fact, he had been selected by the 
Government as Lord Raglan s successor in case of emergency, 
and took out with him to the Crimea a dormant Commission 
for the purpose. This Commission he had accepted with 
reluctance. Carrying him as it did over the heads of his 

2 In returning this letter, which the Queen sent to Lord Hardinge to read, 
he mentions that he considered the time selected for conferring this dignity on 
Lord Eaglan to be most opportune. It stands forth, as it should do, by 
itself, and conferred after such brilliant successes, is a compliment to that 
army which he so ably led. 


seniors in the service, he knew that it must place him in an 
invidious position towards them. But as he could not regard 
it otherwise than in the light of a command from his Sove 
reign, he conceived that no choice was left him but to accept 
it. When therefore the Government subsequently decided 
on recalling the Commission, he felt greatly relieved. Only 
ten days before he fell he had placed it in the hands of Lord 
Eaglan, who, in writing to the Duke of Newcastle (27th 
October), speaks of General Cathcart s conduct throughout 
the affair as having been exactly what might be expected 
from a man of his high feeling. 3 The, Times (18th Novem 
ber), in an eloquent commentary on the dearly-bought 
victory of Inkermann, speaks of him as that rare and 
precious character in the British service a soldier devoted 
to the science and experienced in the practice of his pro 
fession. There was nothing which might not be expected 
from him, and, with such as he to fall back upon, there wa*. 
no fear that the army would ever be at a loss for commanders. 
He now lies, one of thousands, slain by a chance bullet in the 
tempest of war. 

Writing to bis widow (18th November), the Queen said: 
4 I can let no one but myself express to you all my deep 
feelings of heart-felt sympathy on this sad occasion, when 
you have been deprived of a beloved husband, and I and the 
country of a most distinguished and excellent officer. I can 
attempt to offer no consolation to you in your present over 
whelming affliction, for none but that derived from reliance 
on Him who never forsakes those who are in distress can be 
of any avail ; but it may be soothing to you to know, how 
highly I valued your lamented husband, how much con 
fidence I placed in him, and how very deeply and truly I 
mourn his loss ! Sir George died, as he had lived, in the 

3 See correspondence quoted by Mr. Kinglake, The Invasion of the Crimea, 
vol. v. cap. iii., 6th edition. 



service of his Sovereign and his country, an example to all 
who follow him. 4 

On the 22nd of November, Lord Raglan s Despatches 
reached England with full details of a battle unsurpassed 
in the annals of war for persevering valour and chivalrous 
devotion, as it was truly called by the Duke of Newcastle, in 
the Despatch to Lord Raglan (27th November), which con 
veyed the Queen s acknowledgments to the army. Many 
letters from the English camp were forwarded to the Queen 
and Prince by those to whom they were addressed, and have 
been carefully preserved by him among his records of that 
memorable day. As a specimen of the stirring pictures with 
which they abound, we give the following extract from a 
letter to Sir George Couper, by an officer not actually en 
gaged in the battle, but who, being on outpost duty in a 
redoubt, saw, as he says, a good deal of the fighting : 

As I was not engaged, I think I may say that the behaviour 
of the men and officers of the Guards was magnificent. I cannot 
imagine anything more magnificent than the scanty and unsup 
ported line of skirmishers (for they were extended to fill the 
space) driving that dense mass of Russians back over the hill, 
not once, but many times, and with fresh foes. It was a beau 
tiful sight, and one I shall not forget. When our men s ammu 
nition failed, they fought with the bayonet, and butt- end, and 
even with stones. 

In this scrambling, desperate fight, every man fought " for his 
own hand," like Hal o the Wynd, and Grenadiers, Coldstreams, 
and Fusiliers got mixed together in the melee. Our officers 
could do little more than join in with their swords and revolvers ; 
and our men, often surrounded by the Russians, fought their 
way out as best they could. Generalship there could be none 
whatever. British steadiness and bulldog courage did it. The 

4 As a mark of regard to Sir George Cathcart s memory, the Queen ap 
pointed his daughter, the Hon. Emily Cathcart, Maid of Honour to Her 
Majesty in 1855, and in this capacity she continues to be attached to the 




result was to be seen next day in the fearful mass of Russian 
dead, which plainly told that it required something more than 
numbers to beat British soldiers. Our battalion had only about 
350 men engaged. They fired 20,000 rounds, and more than 
half of them were killed or wounded. 

It seems that two of the Emperor s sons had just arrived 
with a reinforcement of about 40,000 men, and joined the 
Russian army : hence their desperate attempt to force through 
our lines, and drive us out of the country. 5 I hear it said that 
the English loss is about 2,000, and the Russian 10,000 men. 
Certainly there are heaps of Russian dead in every direction, 
and we have got a great many prisoners, and a great many of 
their wounded. Fancy the Russians throwing shells at our 
fatigue parties who were burying their dead ! I think we ought 
to take some notice of their uncivilised behaviour. I rather 
think the Zouaves will pay them back in their own coin. Even 
our men are getting savage about it. 

I can now describe a Russian soldier accurately: an individual 
with a long dirt-coloured great-coat and greasy forage c t ap, with 
still more tallowy complexion, " an impassive countenance, and 
an eye gleaming with the mixed expression of fox-like cunning 
and cur-ish abjectness." When I have been giving water and 
biscuit to a wounded Russian, I have seen that expression. One 
Russian, however (a better-looking fellow), to whom I was 
giving some assistance yesterday, looked much surprised, and 
raising himself on his elbow, kissed my hand repeatedly. That 
is not usual, though, for I think they would generally take the 
opportunity to stab us, did we not (profiting by experience) 
always take the precaution of first removing all their weapons. 

Many complaints were raised, upon authority that could 
not be impugned, of the barbarous disregard here mentioned 
of the usages of modern warfare shown by the Russians in 

5 This tallied with authentic information of which the Government had 
been for some time in possession, that the Czar had sworn not to rest until he 
had driven the Allies on board their ships, and that troops were marching on 
the Crimea with this object from all directions. The English appeared to be 
the particular objects of the Czar s indignation, and he had ordered Prince 
Menschikoff to attack them in preference to the French, if practicable, and to 
give them no rest. 


their treatment of wounded adversaries. This, it seemed, 
had been carried to an extreme pitch upon the day of 
Inkermann. On the other side it was retorted, that the 
Russians had been exasperated by the barbarities of the 
Turkish irregulars whom they had encountered on the 
Danube, and by instances of English prisoners having used 
concealed revolvers to shoot down their captors. Isolated 
cases of such treachery may have occurred ; but a simpler 
and more probable explanation can surely be found in the 
character of the men who formed the bulk of the Russian 
army, hurried as they were into battle after a long and 
exhausting journey, frenzied, as is now known, with drink, 
and fired with religious wrath against an enemy, who, they 
were told, had desecrated their churches at Balaclava and 
elsewhere in the neighbourhood by converting them into 
magazines, barracks, and stables. The passions of the battle 
field need no incentive, and every officer must have looked 
forward with dismay to the bloody reprisals which were sure to 
be provoked by the slaughter of the helpless and the wounded, 
of which so many ghastly tales were told throughout the Allied 
camp on the morrow of that eventful day. In writing to King 
Leopold, the Queen speaks of the reports which had reached 
England on the subject, with warm indignation : 

Windsor Castle, 28th November, 1854. 

4 Since I wrote we have received all the details of the 
bloody but glorious action of Inkermann : 60,000 Russians 
defeated by 8,000 English and 6,000 French, is almost a 
miracle. The Russians lost 15,000. They behaved with the 
greatest barbarity ; many of our poor officers who were only 
slightly wounded were brutally butchered on the ground. 
Several lived long enough to say this. 

When poor Sir Gr. Cathcart fell, mortally wounded, his 
faithful and devoted military secretary (Colonel Charles 


Seymour), who had been with him at the Cape, sprang from 
his horse, and with one arm he was wounded in the other 
supported his dying chief, when three wretches came and 
bayoneted him. This is monstrous, and requisitions have 
been sent by the two Commanders-in-chief to Menschikoif 
to remonstrate. . . . 

A few days later the Queen recurs to the subject in another 
letter to the same correspondent. The atrocities, Her 
Majesty says, committed by the Eussians on the wounded 
are too horrible to be believed. General Bentinck, whom we 
saw on the 29th, said that it was a disagreeable kind of war 
fare, as it was with people who behaved like savages. It 
was upon full proof of the truth of this, elicited in a Court 
of Military Inquiry, that the remonstrance mentioned by 
the Queen had been addressed to Prince Menschikoff. 
While repudiating the charge as generally true, Prince 
Menschikoff admitted that individual instances of such 
brutality in the heat of combat might have occurred. He 
then went on to vindicate the conduct of his men as having 
been provoked by a religious sentiment. They had learned 
that the Church of St. Vladimir, near Quarantine Bay, which 
was very holy in their estimation, had recently been pillaged 
by the French ; and thence, as Mr. Kinglake says, he went 
on to conclude that if any of the French or the English had 
been despatched on the battle-field while lying disabled by 
wounds, they must have owed their fate not to the ruth- 
lessness, but plainly to the outraged piety of the troops 
(Invasion of the Crimea^ vol. vi. p. 471). Well-founded or 
not, the defence was at least ingenious ; but, if this were 
a specimen of how Holy Eussia read the teachings of Christ, 
was it for the welfare of mankind that she should supersede 
the rule of Islam ? 6 

6 The appeals of the Russian Generals to the piety of their men took the 
very reprehensible form of denouncing as only the self-styled pious do 


But the defence, such as it was, could not be set up for 
the Russian artillery fire being directed, as it was upon more 
than one occasion, on English and French soldiers, when 
they were engaged in bringing help, not to their own, but to 
the Russian wounded. A signal instance of this occurred 
after the battle of the Tschernaja, on the 16th of August, 1855. 
While the Russians were still in the act of retreating from 
the battle-field, the French set actively to work to collect 
the Russian wounded, and to lay them out in an open space 
to wait the arrival of the ambulances. While occupied in 
this task, the Russians, who could see plainly how they were 
engaged, suddenly opened fire from their guns upon them, 
heedless of the destruction they were pouring upon their own 
countrymen. 7 The Times correspondent, who was upon the 
spot, thus reports the answer of a Russian soldier, who was 
limping along with deep flesh wounds in both his thighs, to 
the question what he thought of the behaviour of his friends 
in firing among their own wounded : They are accustomed 
to beat us when we are with them ; no wonder they try 
to ill-treat us when we are upon the point of escaping from 
their power ! Warfare conducted in a spirit at once so 
ignoble and so short-sighted was foredoomed to disaster and 

As the tragic events of this terrible war were more and 
more developed, more and more keenly was it felt, that all its 
miseries and carnage might have been prevented, had the 
German Powers gone heart and hand with those of the West 

their adversaries as godless. A notable example of this occurred in Prince 
Gortschakoffs order of the day after the unsuccessful assault of the 18th of 
June, 1855, upon Sebastopol, where he called upon his troops to plant as 
heretofore their manly hearts against the deadly shots of the godless enemy. 

7 The French, General Bernard wrote to Colonel Phipps, two days after the 
battle, took in 1,809 of the Eussian woxinded, but were obliged to leave 
crowds out, because the Eussians opened a heavy fire on their parties engaged 
in this merciful and Christianlike duty. 


1 62 THE FOUR POINTS. 1854 

in telling Russia that, if she persisted in her aggression on 
Turkey, she would have to meet them also in the field. In 
the letter of the 28th, above quoted, the Queen gives ex 
pression to this feeling in the following passage : 

4 If Austria did her duty she might have prevented 
much of this bloodshed. Instead of this, her Generals do 
nothing but chicaner the Turks of the Principalities, and 
the Government shuffles about, making advances and then 
retreating. We shall see now if she is sincere in her last 

Better hopes were at this moment awakened that Austria 
would act. A project of a treaty with England and France 
had been submitted by her to their respective governments, 
and was at this moment under consideration. In presenting 
it, Austria asked to be informed what other conditions, beyond 
those which were afterwards so well known as the Four 
Points, 8 were to be insisted on by England and France. If 
these were approved by Austria, she would then send an 
Ultimatum to St. Petersburg, the rejection of which would 
constitute a casus belli. The demand was not unreasonable, 
as Austria was entitled to know how far and to what she 

8 The Four Points were : 1. Russian Protectorate over the Principalities 
of Wallachia, Moldavia, and Servia to cease ; the privileges granted by the 
Sultan to these provinces to be placed under a collective guarantee of the 
Powers. 2. Navigation of the Danube at its mouths to be freed from all 
obstacle, and submitted to the application of the principles established by the 
Congress of Vienna. 3. The Treaty of the 13th of July, 1841, to be revised in 
concert by all the high contracting parties in the interest of the balance of power 
in Europe, and so as to put an end to the preponderance of Russia in the Black 
Sea. 4. Russia to give up her claim to an official protectorate over the 
subjects of the Sublime Porte, to whatever rite they may belong; and France, 
Austria, Great Britain, Prussia, and Russia to assist mutually in obtaining 
from the Ottoman Government the confirmation and the observance of the 
religious privileges of the different Christian communities, and to turn to 
account, in the common interests of their co-religionists, the generous inten 
tions manifested by the Sultan, at the same time avoiding any aggression on 
his dignity and the independence of his Crown. 


pledged herself by joining with the Allies. But, as matters 
stood in the Crimea, it was difficult for them to specify on 
what precise terms they would make peace. They might 
ask too much, or too little ; and if they were supposed to be 
parties to the Austrian Ultimatum, this would give them the 
appearance of suing for peace, and of being disheartened by 
recent events. Much might depend on the answer returned 
to Austria ; and it is significant of the value which the 
Cabinet had by this time learned to attach to the judgment 
of the Prince on questions of foreign policy, that Lord 
Clarendon wrote to him (19th November), asking for his 
opinion, previous to a meeting of the Cabinet next day to 
deliberate on the subject. 

Within a few hours the following exhaustive Memorandum 
by the Prince was in Lord Clarendon s hands : 

Windsor Castle, 19th November, 1854. 

The difficulties which we meet with in having to answer 
the question put by a Foreign Power, as to what are the 
ulterior conditions on which alone we should be prepared to 
make peace, are inherent to every negotiation for peace 
whilst war is going on. They are twofold. 

1st. The uncertainty of the events of the war, during 
which a State has to pronounce itself as to its views, which 
makes it possible that its demands may turn out to have 
been too high or too low as, under success, they could not 
be raised with good faith, and, without success, they could 
not be lowered with honour. 

2nd. The real cause and ultimate object of the war itself. 

Against the first difficulty there is no remedy, except 
stating the most moderate terms, and keeping open the right 
to advance others, if the war proceeds. This we have done 
in the Notes exchanged with Austria in August last, and she 

M 2 


has acknowledged the principle in her answer, claiming its 
benefit for herself. 

With regard to the second, it generally so happens that 
the ostensible cause of a war does not embrace the ivhole or 
even the strongest motives which impel States to resort to 
that last extremity. 

A peace, to be satisfactory and lasting, must satisfy all 
the objects for which the war has been undertaken, and it 
becomes necessary therefore fully and honestly to consider 
what these were. 

4 In the present instance I take them to have been, the 
necessity which Europe (or at least England and France on 
its behalf) found itself under, to put a term at last to a 
policy which threatened the existence of the Ottoman Empire, 
and by making all the countries bordering on the Black Sea 
dependencies of Russia, seriously to endanger the balance of 
power, a policy, of which the particular steps which led to 
the present war can be considered only as symptoms. The 
question naturally arises, By what means was that policy 
to be carried out ? 

The means employed are : 

1st. The identity of religion between Russia and the 
Greek subjects of the Porte the assumption of a spiritual 
supremacy by the Emperors of Russia over the whole Greek 
Church, and, based upon this, a political protectorate over 
the Christians in Turkey, supported by different treaties 
obtained by violence, and purposely ambiguously worded. 

2nd. The exclusion of all European commerce from the 
Black Sea, by the shutting up of the mouths of the Danube. 

* 3rd. The erection of a stupendous military and naval 
establishment at Sebastopol, containing a fleet, which, having 
no commerce to protect and no enemy to guard against, can 
only serve purposes of aggression. 

4th. The gradual transfer of the allegiance of the provinces 

1854 FOR THE CABINET. 165 

separating Turkey from Eussia from the former to herself, 
partly by treaty stipulations, partly by violent occupations, 
by bribery and any other surreptitious means. 

c 5th. The subjection of the mountain tribes of the Cau 
casus under pretence of maintaining order. 

If these are the means by which Russia hopes to succeed 
in a policy detrimental to Europe, no peace can be admitted 
by us which does not give the fullest guarantees against 

4 These guarantees are, in my opinion, all contained in the 
well-known " Four Points." We have, therefore, not to ask 
at present anything beyond the " Four Points," but rather to 
define more fully the precise meaning we attach to their 
elastic terms. In doing this, care should be taken not to 
fall short of any of the expectations which the Government 
led Parliament to entertain, when Lord John Russell stated 
on its behalf to the House of Commons the objects of the war. 
I find that the impossibility of allowing Russia to retain her 
threatening armaments in the Crimea was one of the most 


prominent, and the one which gave most satisfaction to the 
House. Now that vast treasure, and the best English blood, 
have been profusely expended towards obtaining that object, 
the nation has a right to expect that any peace contem 
plated by Government should fully and completely realise it. 
If, therefore, our present demands consist strictly in a 
closer definition and more extensive application of the 
principles contained in the " Four Points " in the sense above 
understood, Parliament ought to be satisfied, and Austria can 
derive from them no pretext to fly from her engagements 
towards us. 

With this document before them to guide their delibera 
tions, the decision of the Cabinet was made comparatively 
easy. The subject, however, engaged their consideration 


on two .consecutive days, and on the 21st Lord Aberdeen 
wrote to the Queen : 

* The Cabinet yesterday and to-day was occupied in the consi 
deration of the answer to be given to the Despatch of Count 
Buol to Count Colloredo, requesting explanations from the Allied 
Powers previous to the signature of the proposed Treaty between 
them and Austria. The answer contained in a Despatch to Lord 
Westmoreland has been mainly founded upon an excellent Memo 
randum by the Prince to Lord Clarendon, which appears to 
embrace the whole subject, and to take a perfectly just view of 
the position of the different parties. 

Some misgivings were entertained by Lord Clarendon and 
others of the Ministry, that Austria, in asking for the expla 
nations she did, was seeking a pretext for extricating herself 
from her subsisting engagements to the Allies. This view 
was not, however, shared by the Queen or Prince, and in 
returning to Lord Clarendon the draft of his Despatch, Her 
Majesty wrote : It contains an honest exposition of our 
position and views, which is always the best, where some 
double dealing is suspected on the part of those with whom 
we treat. The Queen must confess, however, that the steps 
taken by Austria, and the proposals now made by her, admit 
of the more natural interpretation of being honestly meant ; 
that is to say, the Queen fully believes, that Austria would 
still prefer to see Eussia entering into negotiations for peace 
to having to fight her ; but she evidently cannot stand the 
strain of the suspense much longer, and the Treaty and Notes 
will make it easy for her to go to war, if necessary, and at 
the same time they bring the term for the decision as near 
as six weeks from hence. 

It was the more necessary for the Allied Powers to satisfy 
Austria that our terms of peace were reasonable, as Russia 
by this time had intimated her intention to accept the Four 
Points as the basis of negotiation. This was a step calculated 


to perplex Austria, and to arrest her intention of binding 
herself to overt acts against Russia. It probably had no 
other purpose, and the conduct of Russia at a later stage 
fully justified this suspicion. But in any case this design, 
if it existed, was baffled by the frank explanations given by 
the Allied Powers to Austria, which showed that their views 
were in entire accord with the conditions which she had herself 
previously approved, and accordingly she executed the Treaty 
with France and England on the 2nd of December. 

While the alarm inspired by the full accounts of the 
Battle of Inkermann was still fresh, tidings were received 
(26th November) of a hurricane which had ravaged the coasts 
of the Crimea on the 14th of that month, and sent to the 
bottom of the sea vast stores of ammunition, and the bulk of 
the warm clothing which had been prepared during the 
summer for the use of our troops. Two French ships of the 
line and twenty-four of our transports had been wrecked in 
the gale; and the elements themselves seemed to have ex 
pended their worst fury in order to increase the difficulties, 
already sufficiently great, with which the besieging armies 
had to contend. 9 Not an hour was lost in despatching agents 
to Glasgow, Nottingham, and elsewhere, to purchase fresh 
supplies of warm clothing at any cost : and it was no small 
alleviation of the anxiety of the Government, that the same 
mail which brought the details of the disaster brought news 
of the arrival at Balaclava of The Jura transport, with a 
large supply of blankets and clothing, and also of a merchant 
ship with the latter commodity for sale OH, speculation. 10 

The Prince s Diary (26th November) contains the brief 

9 In the Prince alone, a magnificent steamship of 2,700 tons, which had 
fortunately landed the 46th Regiment at Balaclava a few days before, a cargo 
valued at 500,000?. was lost. In the Resolute, another of the vessels wrecked, 
were 900 tons of powder. 

10 Letter from Sir Edmund Lyons to Sir James Graham, 18th November, 


entry : c The army must be increased. With him the first 
lings of his thought in an emergency were also the 
firstlings of his hand, and he despatched to Mr. Sidney 
Herbert (then Secretary at War) the following suggestions 
for effecting this object, and at the same time securing a 
permanent reserve force within easy reach of the Commander- 
in-chief : 

6 My dear Mr. Herbert, .... The step which will now 
have to be taken will be the decisive one for the rest of the 
war, and I hope it will not be taken without the maturest 

Our last step of organisation, bringing each regiment up 
to twelve companies, was the right one, as an organisation 
adapted either for peace or war. It has failed, however, in 
supplying with sufficient quickness the tremendous expen 
diture of men in the Crimea. It has failed particularly in 
supplying the army of Lord Raglan, on account of the 
distance of 3,000 miles between the basis and the field of 
battle. A mere reference home in writing and its answer 
require six weeks, and the time for providing troops in 
creases it to two months under the most favourable circum 
stances, during which the whole state of things may be 
altered. We know from experience that communications 
by letter from Lord Raglan supply but scanty informa 

What is imperatively demanded, therefore, is an interme 
diate depot upon which Lord Raglan would draw at pleasure, 
and which would be kept supplied from home. 

4 Adapting our present organisation to this want, for every 
four companies in depot at home there should be an equal 
depot established at Malta these depots to be united in 
provisional battalions like the provisional battalions at home. 
They would form at the same time the whole garrison, and 


would require all the accommodation at that place, setting 
free all the regiments now there. 

If Malta would not hold sufficient depots, the system 
might be further extended to Gibraltar. Our present depots 
might go out at once, and fresh ones be formed at home. 
We should then have 

1st. Depots of four companies in England for recruiting 
and instruction. 

2nd. Depots at Malta as a reserve to the army in the 
field, and for further training. 

3rd. Battalions of eight companies in the field always 
kept complete. 

The invalids might join the reserves, and a great deal of 
shipping would thus be saved. 

4 Napoleon always had reserves for his army between it and 
the home depots ; without them, in fact, it cannot be carried 
on. Moreover, what I lay the greatest stress upon, Lord 
Kaglan would have his reserves within command, and the 
knowledge of what he lias, and what he has to expect, will 
be his safest guide in regulating his operations. 

I recommend this to the most serious consideration of the 
Duke of Newcastle, to whom you will be good enough to 
communicate this letter. I shall be at Buckingham Palace 
to-morrow, where I shall be very glad to meet you with the 
Duke and Lord Hardinge to talk this matter over. Will you 
kindly appoint them ? 

Windsor Castle, 28th November, 1854. 

Next day the meeting which the Prince had requested took 
place. His plan was submitted to the Cabinet by the Duke 
of Newcastle with the approval of Lord Hardinge and Mr. 
Sidney Herbert, and on the 1 st of December Lord Aberdeen 
informed the Queen that it had been adopted. An army of 
reserve amounting to 16,000 men was to be formed at Malta, 


and one -half of this force, it was hoped, would soon be com 
pleted. The same letter conveyed the welcome intelligence 
that a contract had been sanctioned for a railroad from Bala 
clava to the camp before Sebastopol, principally in order to 
spare the incredible labour necessary to drag the artillery 
from the coast, which had hitherto been performed by the 
seamen of the fleet. A contract was also entered into for 
laying a telegraphic cable at the joint expense of France 
and England, between Cape Kalerga, near Varna, and the 
Monastery of St. George, between Balaclava and Kamiesch 
Bay. 11 

A few days later brought further details of the storm of 
the 14th, and of the measures which had been taken to 
repair the losses by it. Reinforcements were arriving, and 
the extreme right of our position was being strengthened 
against the renewal of such attacks as those of the 26th of 
October and the 5th of November. Sir Edmund Lyons wrote 
to Sir James Graham that he found a hopeful as well as a 
determined spirit prevailing in both armies. They all feel, 
he added, 4 and with reason, that hitherto everything has 
been honourable and glorious for the arms of England and 
France. They have confidence in the support of the two 
Governments and the two countries, and are resolved to 
deserve that support, and, through the blessing of God on a 
good cause, to conquer. 

Sir Edmund Lyons was not a man to despond in diffi 
culties ; but letters from officers in less responsible positions 

11 This cable, 400 miles in length, was connected with a telegraph from 
Varna to Eustchtik, from which place a complete system of communication 
with England already existed. In this way direct and secret communication 
was established between the Offices of the War Department in England and 
Paris and the head-quarters of the English and French Commanders-in-chief. 
The first telegram transmitted was on the 4th of May, 18oo. Hitherto the 
first news of what was passing in the Crimea had reached us through St. 
Petersburg. From this time St. Petersburg got its earliest news through 
London and Paris. 


confirmed his report as to the undaunted spirit of the troops, 
while making no secret of the terrible strain upon their 
endurance, in the absence of almost everything essential to 
keep them from sinking from exhaustion under the combined 
assaults of cold, and wet, and hunger, and fatigue. 



BY those who, like the Prince, were able to look to far-off 
results through the distractions of present difficulties, the 
issues involved in the great struggle of Inkermann were not 
hard to divine. The dauntless courage of a comparative 
handful of Englishmen had rolled back the overwhelming 
force which the Czar had hoped would have swept them into 
ruin. A great calamity had been averted. But while the 
events of that day showed too palpably how perilous was the 
position in which we stood, they aleo showed no less clearly, 
that we must fight out to the uttermost the contest in which 
we were engaged. The fall of Sebastopol could alone save 
the Allied armies, and that object must be attained, cost what 
it might. To re-embark in face of a force so powerful as that 
of the Russians was impossible. Infinite shame, as well as 
infinite loss, must have followed on the attempt. 

But, if England and France did their duty by the soldiers 
who had thus far nobly maintained the national honour, had 
we, in truth, any reason for apprehension ? The same valour 
which had stood the shock of Inkermann might be relied on 
to hold its grasp on the plateau between Sebastopol and the 
sea. It had only to do so until England and France brought 
into play the advantages secured to them by the command of 
the sea, and success must follow. For the resources of Russia, 
however vast, were being expended at a rate, and with a 
rapidity, which must lead, at no very distant period, to ex 
haustion, separated as they were from the theatre of war by 


immense tracts of country, without good or numerous road* 
or sufficient means of transport. In the failure, therefore, of 
the Russian attack on Inkermann, the fate of Sebastopol was 
in effect decided. However others might waver and men 
of high position did waver the Prince never for a moment 
faltered in this conviction. The beleaguered city must fall. 
There could be no going back from the task which we had 
imposed upon ourselves. 

The spirit of the army, tried as it had already been, and 
speedily to be doomed to still heavier trial, was excellent. 
Our position here. the same officer whose letter we have quoted 
above, p. 157, writes from the camp on the 16th of December, 
is very critical, and we are well aware of the difficulties we 
are likely to have to contend against ; still we feel that, 
though inferior in numbers, we are more than a match for 
the enemy, and the idea of the possibility of being beaten by 
them never for one instant occurs to any man amongst us. 
Again, an officer of the Guards writes to Colonel Phipps on 
the 18th : I wish words could express the cool, determined, 
unflinching bravery of our men. At Inkermann, every minute 
one expected they must give way. Had they done so the 
day was lost ; but no, they retired, when forced back by 
overwhelming numbers, foot by foot, not a man hanging 
back ; and the cheer and dash they made on receiving rein 
forcements were glorious. One felt inclined to hug them all, 
when the action ivas over? With such men what was not to 
be hoped for ? For such men what would not their country 
men at home be prepared to do ? 

Had the arrangements for the care of the army been as 
complete and efficient as they proved to be the reverse, 
public feeling would still have found it necessary for its own 
satisfaction to show active sympathy with its struggles and 
inevitable sufferings. Accordingly, early in October, a letter 
from Sir E. Peel to The Times led to a subscription being 


opened for the sick and wounded. In less than a fortnight a 
sum of about 1 5,000. was received at The Times office, and 
the proprietors of that journal sent out a Commissioner to 
administer this fund in the shape of medicines and necessary 
comforts. Incalculable good resulted from this timely aid, 
and so thoroughly was this felt that, when at a later date the 
subscription was reopened, the amount originally subscribed 
was raised to 25,462Z. On the 13th of October, a Royal 
Commission, at the head of which was the Prince, was issued 
for the purpose of establishing f a fund for relief of the 
orphans and widows of soldiers, sailors, and marines who 
may fall in the present war. This fund, known as the 
Patriotic Fund, before the end of the year exceeded half a 
million, and ultimately rose to more than a million and a 
quarter. Subscriptions were also raised for sending addi 
tional chaplains to the seat of war, to aid the overtasked 
military chaplains there. 

A staff of female hospital nurses was at the same time 
organised. Miss Florence Nightingale, a lady pre-eminently 
fitted for the task by her great natural gifts for organisation, 
and by invaluable experience gained at the Hospital of 
Kaiserswerth in Prussia and elsewhere abroad, at the re 
quest of Mr. Sidney Herbert undertook the direction of 
this devoted band, and, accompanied by the Rev. Mr. Brace- 
bridge and his wife, proceeded with thirty-seven lady nurses 
to Constantinople. They reached Scutari on the 5th of 
November, in time to receive the soldiers who had been 
wounded at the battle of Balaclava. On the arrival of Miss 
Nightingale, the great hospital at Scutari, where all had up 
to this time been chaos and discomfort, was reduced to 
order ; and those tender lenitives, which only woman s 
thought and woman s sympathy can bring to the sick man s 
couch, were applied to solace and alleviate the agonies of 
pain, or the torture of fever and prostration. The introduc- 


tion of such an addition to the staff of a military hospital 
had been deprecated by the worshippers of official routine 
with such men nothing new can be good but so completely 
did experience belie their fears, that a further staff of fifty 
trained female nurses was soon afterwards sent from England, 
to aid in the work which Miss Nightingale and her assistants 
had begun. In the records of the war, the services of these 
admirable women occupy a page to which their countrymen 
must always turn with pride. 

While public munificence was busy doing what it might 
for the well-being and comfort of the army, individual acts 
of kindness were not wanting in every quarter. It was but- 
little, after all, that could be done, but everything helped to 
bring the animating assurance of sympathy, where in truth it 
was sorely needed. The Queen herself, the elder Princesses, 
and Her Majesty s ladies, made woollen comforters, mittens, 
and other warm coverings, which were sent out and distri 
buted among the soldiers. Thousands of gentle hands 
throughout the country worked long hours unweariedly for 
the same praiseworthy purpose. On his part, the Prince sent 
fur great coats to all his brother officers of the Brigade of 
Gruards, and a liberal supply of tobacco to their men, and also 
to the men of the two Battalions of Rifles, and of the llth 

You may be quite sure, wrote Colonel Upton (22nd Decem 
ber), when acknowledging the gift to Colonel Phipps, it will be 
duly appreciated, especially coming from the quarter it does. 
Nothing can be more pleasant to these poor fellows, and more 
convincing in its effect, than the thought that his Royal High 
ness has been mindful of their creature comforts and wants 
during their absence on this service. No one but those who have 
lived the life very recently, can know how the hearts of those 
who have been enduring toil, and fatigue, and exposure, are 
gladdened and nerved by the knowledge that their Queen, as 
well as his Royal Highness, had been heard expressing their 


sympathy and warm interest in their sufferings, and admiration 
of all that has been done by them. It is a sort of exultation that 
makes out of every one two at least. 

How great were the sympathy and how warm the interest 
of both the Queen and Prince, it would be impossible 
to overstate. The accounts of the privations which the 
army in the Crimea was now suffering were heart-rending. 
The siege operations were practically at a standstill. The 
camp was drenched with rain. The men, reduced in numbers 
and enfeebled by want of food, and rest, and shelter, were 
tasked to the utmost limit of their strength to hold their 
own in the trenches. The Commissariat had broken down 
for want of the means of transport. With abundance of 
provisions a few miles off at Balaclava, men and horses were 
perishing for lack of food. The horses, that had carried 
their riders so magnificently into the enemy s lines on the 
memorable 25th of October, were either rotting in a sea of mud, 
or being wasted away in doing the ignoble work of sumpter 
mules ; while the survivors of Inkermann, after spending 
a day and night in the trenches, were often compelled to 
wade through mire to Balaclava to bring up the rations, 
which the Commissariat were without the means of for 
warding to the front. All the evils, in short, were threaten 
ing the army, which want of foresight and of effective 
organisation for the exigencies of a lengthened campaign 
could not fail to inflict. Who were to blame? was the 
question in every mouth. It was by no means easy to 
find an answer to a question, which only too many were 
ready to discuss ; but to find and to apply the remedy was 
the one thing needful, and to this the thoughts of both 
the Queen and Prince were most anxiously turned. 

The reports from Lord Raglan as to the condition of the 
army were most meagre ; his letters being silent as to the 
sufferings, with accounts of which private letters, as well 


as newspapers, were teeming. From them it was impossible 
to learn what was wanted for the supplies and comfort of 
the troops, and the Government could, therefore, only act 
upon conjecture, and send out whatever they thought was 
likely to be required. Scarcely less meagre were the official 
returns, which were barren of the most essential information 
as to the numbers of the army available and not available 
for action, the provision made for their shelter, clothing, 
and food, the supply of horses, the means of transport, all 
those details, in short, in the absence of which the Grovern 
ment could neither know on what force they had to depend, 
nor how that force was to be maintained in a state of effi 
ciency. It seems to have struck the Prince, and the Prince 
alone, that, until this radical defect was cured, it would be 
impossible to abate the evils by which the conduct of the 
campaign was now so seriously hampered. Accordingly, 
on the 31st of December, he called the attention of the 
Duke of Newcastle to the subject by letter : 

6 My dear Duke, he wrote, The want of system and order 
in our army before Sebastopol, entailing, as it does, much 
confusion and positive suffering to our gallant troops, as 
well as painful uncertainty to their well-wishers at home, 
has, as you know, much distressed and occupied me. I 
know but of one remedy, where people are not born with 
the instinct of method, and are prevented by want of time 
or inclination from writing, and that is, an efficient and 
detailed form of Returns to be filled up by them. These 
Eeturns should be framed in such a manner that the mere 
act of filling them up shall compel attention to all the points 
which ought to be brought under the wholesome influence 
of method, and on which the Home authorities imperatively 
require the amplest information. 

The Prince accompanied his letter with a complete scheme 
of tabulated Returns drawn up by himself, in which he had 



aimed at combining completeness of information on all im 
portant points with such brevity as could not reasonably deter 
those whose duty it was to fill them up from the labour of 
doing so. To these was added a full explanatory Memo 
randum, and the Prince asked to be put in communication 
with the person whom the Duke might charge with the task of 
settling the form of the Returns. With such Returns before 
them, the Government would be kept fully informed as to the 
state of the army engaged at Sebastopol from week to week, 
its guns, horses, equipments, and stores, how the men were 
secured against weather, in a word, as to every particular 
which might enable them duly to meet all necessary require 
ments for the comforts and appointments of the men, and 
of materials for the siege. 

Two days afterwards, it appears from the Prince s Diary, 
he had a conference with the Duke of Newcastle on the sub 
ject of this communication. Between this period and the 
time when the Duke left office, he was probably unable to 
arrange for the reform of the existing want of system. But 
one of the first acts of Lord Panmure, his successor at the 
War Office, was to require Lord Raglan to furnish the in 
formation pointed to by the Prince. His language is so nearly 
that of the Prince s Memorandum, that it may be presumed 
to have been before him when he wrote (12th February, 
1855) the following letter to Lord Raglan : 

* It appears to me that your Lordship s reports to my depart 
ment, are too scanty, and, in order to remedy this inconvenience, 
I have to request that you will call upon General Officers com 
manding Divisions, and they in their turn will desire their 
Brigadiers to furnish reports once a fortnight, which you will 
regularly forward for my information. These reports must 
exhibit fully the state of the troops in camp. They will mention 
the condition of their clothing, the amount and regularity of 
issue of their rations, the state of their quarters, and the cleanli 
ness of the camp in its several parts. . . . The General Officers 


will mention in these reports any difficulties which may have 
occurred as to the issue of rations, fuel, or forage, and you must 
inquire strictly and immediately into all neglect, and visit upon 
the delinquent the punishment due to his fault. 

* By following the above directions you will, at little trouble to 
yourself, convey to me most interesting information, for all which 
I am at present compelled to rely on the reports of unofficial 

The instructions here given were carried out ; and from 
this time .Reports, accompanied by tabular Returns on the 
model of those suggested by the Prince, were regularly for 
warded to the Secretary for War, and by him to the Queen. 
With these before them, the Home authorities could see at 
a glance the strength of the available force before Sebastopol, 
what gaps had to be supplied, what guns, stores, clothing, 
&c, had to be provided, and, above all, which defects in 
the previously existing system had shown to be of the utmost 
moment, whether what had been actually provided and sup 
plied from home for the army had been duly forwarded to its 
destination. This was one of the first and most efficient steps 
towards curing the abuses, which, during the winter of 1854 
1855, caused so much loss and suffering to the English forces. 
The wonder is, that a reform of this nature should have been 
left to emanate from one who had no practical experience in 
war. May this not be read as one indication among many, 
that in designating the Prince for his successor at the Horse 
Guards, the Duke of Wellington had acted on a well-founded 
conviction of his Royal Highness s special fitness for the 

This winter set in with unusual severity in England. Its 
rigours seemed to give poignancy to the pain, which every 
fresh communication from the Crimea was calculated to ag 
gravate. What the prevailing feeling was, Mr. Bright, no 
lover of the war, expressed in the House of Commons (23id 

N 2 


February, 18 55), when he said, Thousands, scores of thousands 
of persons, have retired to rest, night after night, whose slum 
bers have been disturbed or whose dreams have been busied 
with the sufferings and agonies of our soldiers in the Crimea. 
At the kindly Christmas time men s thoughts naturally tra 
velled away from the warmth of their own hearth-fires to the 
wind-swept slopes, where so many of their countrymen were 
fighting for very life against fearful odds. Nowhere less than 
in the Palace were their hardships likely to be forgotten ; and 
the Queen, while sending salutation to her troops on New 
Year s day through Lord Raglan, seized the opportunity to 
press the consideration of these hardships upon his personal 
attention, to which there was reason to think it had not been 
sufficiently directed. It was thus Her Majesty wrote : 

The sad privations of the army, the bad weather, and 
the constant sickness are causes of the deepest concern and 
anxiety to the Queen and Prince. The braver her noble 
troops are, the more patiently and heroically they bear all 
their trials and sufferings, the more miserable we feel at their 
long continuance. The Queen trusts that Lord Raglan will 
be very strict in seeing that no unnecessary privations are 
incurred by any negligence of those whose duty it is to watch 
over their wants. 

The Queen heard that their coffee was given them green, 
instead of roasted, and some other things of this kind, which 
have distressed her, as she feels so anxious that they should 
be made as comfortable as circumstances can admit of. The 
Queen earnestly trusts, that the large amount of warm 
clothing sent out has not only reached Balaclava, but has been 
distributed, and that Lord Eaglan has been successful in 
procuring the means of hutting for the men. 

Lord Raglan cannot think how much we suffer for the 
army, and how painfully anxious we are to know that their 


privations are decreasing. . . . The Queen cannot conclude 
without wishing Lord Raglan and the whole of the army, in 
the Prince s name and her own, a happy and glorious New 

By this time a loud outcry against Lord Raglan had begun 
in the press. He was charged with neglecting to see to the 
actual state of his troops, and to the necessary measures for 
their relief. Their condition was becoming more and more 
pitiable ; their numbers dwindling rapidly from death and dis 
ease. 1 The road between Balaclava and the camp had become a 
muddy quagmire, the few remaining horses of our cavalry 
were rapidly disappearing, every day the difficulty of getting 
up food and other necessaries from Balaclava was becoming 
more serious, and still no provision was being made for 
supplying an effective means of transport. The disastrous 
consequences were now being felt of the neglect to construct, 
during the fine weather, a sound road from the camp to the 
port, from which its supplies were drawn. In the anxiety to 
open our batteries, and to maintain a fire upon; Sebastopol, 
every available horse and man had been called into play. It 
was in vain that the military authorities urged ; , in answer to 
the complaints that reached them from England, that if, 
instead of this, they had, on their arrival before Sebastopol, 
employed any of their scanty forces in making a road and 
in other preparations for wintering in the Crimea, all Eng 
land would have been up in arms at their delay, and would 
have ascribed the failure of the attack to over-precaution. 
This might be true ; but what of that ? The question was not, 
what might have been said in a certain event, but what 
ought to have been done ? The very terms of the defence 
implied, that under an apprehension of unjust censure the 

1 On the 22nd of January Colonel Gordon writes to General Grey, Our 
effectives today are only 10,362! 


attack upon Sebastopol had been made without first making 
provision against the contingency of a failure, which had yet 
been foreseen. Only a success, which those upon the spot 
did not dare to hope for, could have vindicated such a course. 
Success had not been achieved, and now the inevitable penalty 
followed. For when did general or statesman swerve from 
his conviction, to gratify .a popular outcry, the ardor 
civium prava jubentium, but he had to expiate his weak 
ness in the reproaches of those to whose clamour he had 
yielded ? So it was now. Loudest in condemnation of Lord 
Eaglan were the very men who, in the fulness of their 
ignorance as to the scanty resources at his disposal, com 
pared with those of his adversaries, had been most vehement 
in urging that Sebastopol must fall before a vigorous attack. 
When the failure of the fire of the Allies on the 17th of 
October had demonstrated, that Sebastopol was not to be 
taken except by regular siege, the formation of a sound 
road between the camp and Balaclava should clearly have 
been the first thought. It was true, that we had no men to 
spare for the work, but labourers from Constantinople or 
even from England might easily have been procured, had the 
necessary steps been taken. A great general, a Wellington, 
a Napoleon, or a Moltke, would never have omitted to make 
.himself secure on so essential a point. But the man at the 
head of our army, admirable as he was in much, was not 
gifted with the imaginative genius of a great commander, 
which foresees the -contingencies of a compaign, and provides 
for them by anticipation. He could handle his army well 
in the field. But how to ensure for it the food, clothing, 
and shelter, the want of which are more deadly than all the 
casualties of battle, was a problem apparently beyond his 
grasp. In any case, it was one with which he did not 
grapple till too late. The absence of this quality was all the 
more disastrous, inasmuch as the system, with which he had 


to work, was defective in any provision for the emergency 
which had arisen. It was a matter of dispute, in fact, on 
whom the duty of seeing to the efficiency of the road rested, 
whether on the Quartermaster-General s department, or that 
of the Commissariat. Neither had men or means for the 
work upon the spot, and there was no one to insist that 
these should be instantly provided elsewhere. The flaw was 
but one of many in the organisation of the army, which the 
experiences of the campaign had brought and were daily 
bringing into relief, and which forced upon the view the 
necessity for a thorough reform of our military system. The 
present administration of the army is not to be defended. 
My heart bleeds to think of it ! are the Prince s words, in a 
letter of the 20th of January of this year to King Leopold. 

The subject was no new one to the Prince. It had occu 
pied his thoughts for years, and by the camp at Chobham, 
and by the scheme of a permanent camp at Aldershot, some 
of his ideas had been carried into effect. By these he had 
sought to neutralise a defect in the system, to which the 
Grreat Duke, by his mode of dealing with the army at home 
during a long peace, had given encouragement. In his ex 
treme desire, says Colonel Hamley, in his able monograph on 
Wellington, 2 to keep the military subordinate to the civil 
power, he treated the army as a machine to be taken to 
pieces and packed away in small fractions till it should be 
needed. To the officers the consequence was, that none of 
them, even of high rank, ever had, while in England, an 
opportunity of seeing a division assembled, and that they 
could consequently have no practical acquaintance with the 
relation which the dry details of evolution and regimental 
duty bear to the operations of a force composed of the differ 
ent arms. In this view, as will be seen from the Memo- 

2 Wellington s Career : A Military and Practical Summary. By E. B. Hamley. 
Blackwood, 1860: p. 107. 


random presently to be quoted, the Prince by anticipation 
concurred, and he mentions it in explanation of the causes 
which had contributed to the defects of our army system. 
The time, he conceived, had come for dealing with the whole 
subject in a comprehensive spirit, and although he was at 
this period much prostrated, as his Diary shows, by a pro 
tracted attack of influenza, he gathered up his strength to 
embody his views in one of his carefully studied Memo 

On the merits of this Memorandum only the judgment of 
military men can be of any value ; but we have the authority 
of the distinguished officer, now the head of the Staff Col 
lege, from whom we have just quoted, for saying, that it 
has been the aim of military reformers since to embody all 
its suggestions, and that all have been put in practice, with 
the exception of certain points of detail, with which the 
Memorandum either does not deal at all, or only imperfectly. 
It does not indeed profess to be exhaustive, and the Prince had 
already, in his communications with the Government, dealt 
with such questions as the formation of reserves, the term of 
service, and other important particulars on which the Memoran 
dum does not touch. Some of the details of organisation, of 
which the Memorandum speaks, we are informed by Colonel 
Hamley, have always be en regarded as necessary for an army 
in the field, and what the Prince says on these points, there 
fore, although excellent so far as it goes, is not entitled to the 
same merit for originality, as the rest of the paper. Upon 
the whole, however, Colonel Hamley considers that this paper 
c distinctly hits the blots in the system as it then existed, 
affords another proof of the soundness of the Prince Consort s 
judgment, and of his capacity for being a leader in reform, 
and will enhance his repute as a thinker and administrator. 
With so high a testimony to its merits, it will not be out of 
place to preserve a record of this interesting document : 


Windsor Castle, 14th January, 1855. 

It was always to be expected, that after an European 
peace of forty years, a great war, finding us on a reduced 
peace establishment, with most of our experienced generals 
dead or superannuated, would expose us to much danger, and 
our armies possibly at the outset even to reverses. 

Whilst other countries, enjoying less liberty than our own, 
and compelled by their Continental position, have kept up 
large standing armies, and employed the forty years in 
constant application to the organisation and exercise of those 
armies, we have directed our whole ingenuity to devices to 
reduce expenditure, and to avoid public attention being- 
drawn to the affairs of the army. 3 

( A. maxim having even received public acceptation that 
England was not a military country, and should never again 
engage in a Continental war, great fears were naturally en 
tertained when the army was suddenly called upon to em 
bark in a contest with the two greatest military Powers, the 
one as an enemy to be overcome, the other as an ally to be 

Notwithstanding a pre-conceived determination on the 
part of the public to consider our army as inferior in all 
military qualities to the French, events have shown that our 
small army was prepared to take the field as early as the 
French, and, when they came to the first battle, actually out- 

3 Do not our public men, in a competition, not unnatural, to outvie their 
rivals in reducing our military expenditure, still foster too much the prevail 
ing disposition to rely for security on our insular position and naval suprem 
acy? If we are to command the respect of other countries, and to retain a 
firm hold of those vast colonial and foreign possessions, which go so far to 
make the greatness and to justify the influence of England, we cannot hope to 
escape the expense of maintaining an army which shall be something more 
than merely sufficient for purposes of national police or for the wants of the 
colonies and our Indian empire. We may not always be able to count on the 
friendliness of other States : in prudence we ought not to leave ourselves at 
their mercy. 


numbered it. The victories it has since achieved over the 
Russians have placed it before the world as pre-eminent in 
fighting qualities, discipline, and obedience, and even 
beyond this, in a cheerful spirit of resignation, under every 
possible description of sickness, privation, and hardship. 

When, however, it became engaged in a protracted siege, 
great wants, exhibiting almost a state of helplessness, became 
apparent. The nation is alarmed, and urgent and loud in 
its complaints. The most opposite causes are pointed out as 
having produced the state of things complained of. Some 
find fault with the age of our Commander ; some with the 
youth and inexperience of the Staff; some with the aristo 
cratic composition of our corps of officers ; some with the 
subdivision of departments in the army ; some with the civil 
departments at home; others abuse personally particular 
generals abroad and Ministers at home, and what they term 
Horse Chiards officials. 

All these causes may have contributed in various degrees 
to what we deplore, and, more than all these, the distance of 
3.000 miles to the seat of war. But I am firmly convinced 
that the chief cause is to be found in our military system. 

6 An army is but an instrument, and, according to the 
way in which you construct that instrument, it will work. 
It is worth inquiring what our system really is. 

I hazard the opinion, that our army, as at present orga 
nised, can hardly be called an army at all, but a mere 
aggregate of battalions of infantry, with some regiments of 
cavalry, and an artillery regiment. 

In our ancient wars distinct regiments were raised by 
different noblemen and others for special services, and these, 
with the King s guards, organised after the model of Louis 
XIV., with his Hanoverian troops, foreign mercenaries and 
native levies in India, formed the fighting power of India in 
all her later wars. During the Peninsular war, under the 


guidance of the Duke of Wellington, the British force for 
the first time assumed such numbers, and was kept so long 
together, as to enable him to introduce an army system. It 
came out of the contest with the admiration of the world, 
but at the signature of peace this army, as such, was broken 

All the generals were put on the shelf, all the machinery 
to which it owed its efficiency was done away with, and 
nothing kept but its admirable regimental system, readily 
acknowledged by all the military authorities who are 
acquainted with it, as hardly to be surpassed. The cry for 
economy, and what Lord Castlereagh termed an ignorant 
impatience of taxation, forced upon successive Governments 
reduction upon reduction, and such a distribution of the 
remaining troops as to form an apology for keeping any at 
all. In fact, the army has never been acknowledged by the 
nation as a national want, with recognised claims to its 

4 We have nothing but distinct battalions. 

6 These distinct battalions have been used in an order of 
rotation, more or less adhered to, for Colonial garrisons, as 
Indian auxiliaries, and for duties at home, rather those of a 
police force than of regular troops. Occasionally some of 
them have been thrown together a Uimpromptu, to meet a 
war in some foreign climate suddenly thrust upon the 
country, and generally not foreseen. Some old general 
officer, usually the accidental senior on the nearest station, 
has been put in command, with a staff formed by him in 
haste from his younger friends and relations. Yet the 
country has never been disappointed in its expectations, owing 
to the admirable conduct of the battalions, guided by officers, 
gentlemen in every sense of the word, who have conquered 
vast countries, with means ludicrously small compared with 
those against which they had to contend, or that would 


have been employed for the same purpose by any other 
country. During the necessary difficulties of their cam 
paigns the country has confined itself to abusing the old 
generals (Grough in India, then in China, Smith at the 
Cape, Godwin in Burmah, &c.), but when the difficulties 
have been overcome, it has never felt the duty of doing any 
thing towards rendering future tasks to these noble troops 
less difficult. 

6 We have in consequence, as I have said, admirable 
battalions, but nothing beyond; No generals (as a rule) 
trained and practised in the duties of that rank (for, as 
soon as a colonel obtains that rank, he is, as a system, placed 
on the half pay, and not afterwards employed, except, if at 
all, as inspecting officer in a district, or as commandant of a 
garrison) ; No general staff or staff corps 4 (to the organisa 
tion of which all Continental Powers have paid the most 
special and minute attention) ; No field commissariat, no 
field army department; no ambulance corps, no baggage 
train, no corps of drivers, no corps of artisans ; no prac 
tice, or possibility of acquiring it, in the combined use of 
the three arms, cavalry, infantry, and artillery ; No general 
qualified to handle more than one of these arms, and the 
artillery kept as distinct from the army as if it icere a 
separate profession. 

This has naturally produced, in addition, other detrimental 
consequences, such as these, that we have no barracks for 

4 A year later (16th Feb. 1856) we find the Prince lamenting, in a letter to the 
King of the Belgians, that he has been unable to get public men to recognise 
this radical flaw in our military system. What is bad in the army has been 
occasioned by the House of Commons. It has never allowed us to have per 
manent generals in the service, nor a general staff; and herein lies the fault. 
No army in the world could hold its own, as after all ours has done, if military 
service as a profession is to culminate in the command of a battalion, and if 
" a particular officer for a particular job " is to be appointed merely casually 
after twenty years of other occupations. With all the outcry about reform, L 
have not been able to make anybody comprehend this. 


more than a battalion here and there ; no means of pro 
viding for the defences of the coast, nor of garrisoning the 
defences either existing or proposed, not even such as 
Plymouth and Portsmouth, where the barrack accommoda 
tion is perfectly miserable. In fact, we have nothing but 
103 battalions, of which about a third or a half are generally 
at home. 

More might perhaps have been done in giving practice, 
in moving and handling and supplying troops, by occasional 
concentrations and reviews on a large scale, but fear of 
incurring expense, and a general dislike to what is contemp 
tuously called " playing at soldiers," have prevented this, until 
the camp at Chobham was formed the year before last under 
the pressure of " the invasion panic." 

If the defects we sutler from be here correctly stated, the 
remedy would lie in giving to the British army permanently 
the organisation which every other army in Europe enjoys, 
viz. that of brigades and divisions. 

The 103 battalions of infantry would form 34 brigades, 
and these 17 divisions. The 23 regiments of cavalry 8 
brigades. Each of the 17 divisions ought to have its proper 
complement of artillery permanently attached to it, say 24 
guns, and kept complete. 

The cavalry not doing Colonial duty should be attached 
at home by brigades to the respective divisions. Each 
division and each brigade ought to have its staff, commis 
sariat, medical department, ambulance, and baggage train 
attached to it. By keeping these commands and appoint 
ments filled up, we alone can get the means of judging of 
the fitness of men for command, and give them the means of 
fitting themselves for it. 

The divisions ought to be placed in accordance with a 
comprehensive view of the exigences of the country at home 
and abroad, and with reference to the duties which they may 


be called upon to perform. Camps of evolution, in which 
the troops should be concentrated and drilled together during 
a portion of the year, should at the same time be formed. 5 

I abstain from proposing a detailed system of distribution, 
which would want more consideration, but to show that the 
plan is feasible, I will sketch out a possible scheme ; one 
division at Gibraltar, one at Malta, one in the Ionian Islands, 
four in India, one at the Cape and Mauritius, one in 
Australia, China, Ceylon, one in the Transatlantic Provinces, 
including the West Indies, seven at home, of which four in 
Great Britain and three in Ireland. 

I would keep quite distinct from this effective army the 
regimental depot organisation. The depot battalions would 
be dispersed in the small barracks now occupied by the 
service battalions. 

The objections which will be urged against this plan 
will, I presume, be, first, the necessity of giving the battalions 
their fair turn of foreign and home service ; but this may be 
obtained by either relieving whole divisions, or brigades in 
the divisions, or regiments in the brigades ; secondly, the 
impossibility of keeping the divisions together under all 
circumstances ; but the temporary detachment of brigades 
or battalions need not disturb the general system ; thirdly, 
the increased expense ; but this cannot be great, in fact, 
amounting to no more than the difference between the half 
and full pay, and allowances of some fifty general officers and 
their staff. The additional expense arising out of the organi 
sation of ambulance and baggage trains will be compen 
sated by the saving of the lavish and often useless expendi- 

5 This sentence, says Colonel Hamley, contains the germ of Aldershot. 
No doubt ; and long before the Crimean war was dreamt of, the Prince had 
pressed the formation of this camp on the Government as an urgent necessity 
a necessity only acknowledged, however, when bitter experience had shown, 
that, despite that eternal lack of pence, which : .s the curse of public men, it 
must be provided for. 


ture caused by the necessity of suddenly having to create all 
this in the emergency of war. 

On the whole, the difficulty, if not utter impossibility of 
creating the whole machinery which constitutes an army at 
the moment when this army is to take the field and meet 
the enemy, induces a lavish and absurd expenditure, when 
the finances are already heavily drawn upon, is in the 
highest degree prejudicial and cruel to those noble soldiers 
who go forth to expose themselves to every danger and hard 
ship, unfair to those who are suddenly called upon to 
undertake the various duties for which they have had no 
opportunity of qualifying themselves, exposes the army to 
disaster, and imperils both the best interests and the honour 
of the country. 

If this want, which has been thus pointed out, be not 
supplied, those will be much mistaken who imagine that the 
evils now complained of can be remedied either by a change 
in our system of promotion, or in the class of society from 
which our officers are drawn, or by transferring the patronage 
of the army from a military commander to a political 
partisan, or by recasting all existing military and civil 
departments, putting the army under civil or Parliamentary 
command, or by any other scheme lately urged by the press; 
as none of them all will give the organs of vitality to an army, 
which are indispensable to it when it is to take the field. 

This Memorandum was sent at once (14th January, 1856) 
by the Prince to Lord Aberdeen, with a request that it 
might be circulated amongst the members of the Cabinet, as 
the organisation of the army would probably be the chief 
topic of discussion in the approaching Session. 6 It was 

6 Among the Prince s papers are letters by the la*e Mr. Edward Ellice, Sir 
Frederick Stovin, and Lord Seaton, in which the Prince s suggestions are dis 
cussed in detail, and generally with marked approval. 

I 9 2 HOW DEALT WITH. 1855 

accordingly submitted to several of the leading members 
of the Government, by most of whom, it appears from a 
brief entry in the Prince s Diary on the 20th of January, 
it was approved. But it was left to another Ministry to 
deal with practically, for on the 24th the Aberdeen Adminis 
tration had ceased to exist. 



THE recoil from the extravagant hopes which had been raised 
in England by the triumphant progress of the Allied armies 
up to the time of their arrival before Sebastopol would, under 
any circumstances, have led to angry dissatisfaction with the 
leaders, to whom success up to this point was assumed to 
have been in a great measure due. Those leaders felt this 
keenly, as the full consciousness of their position dawned 
upon them, and they saw that it was not a fortress they were 
attacking, but an army, with apparently inexhaustible rein 
forcements at its back, and already superior in numbers to 
their own, firmly entrenched on ground of immense strength, 
and provided with an overwhelming weight of artillery. 
Writing on the morning after the battle of Inkermann, Sir 
John Burgoyne says, 1 4 More will be required of us than we 
can possibly undertake, . . . and, as ies malheureux out 
toujours tort, I expect we shall have as little mercy from 
friends as from foes ! In fact, we have been engaged in an 
undertaking for which we had not sufficient means. Our 
force is little more than half of what we have landed in the 
Crimea ! Our losses yesterday nearly one half of the forces 
engaged ! These are tests at least of the exertions of the 
army : their leaders will, I presume, be the victims. 

It was hard for their countrymen at home, who had such 
good reason to put faith in the valour of the army, and who 

1 Letter to Colonel Matson, E.E., printed in Life and Correspondence of 
Sir John Burgoyne, by his Son-in-law. London, 1873, vol. ii. p. 118. 



were prepared to spend the resources of the Empire without 
stint to support them in their enterprise, to understand why 
there should have been any lack of means for carrying it on, 
still less why every precaution should not have been taken 
to secure the comfort of the scanty force on whom the stress 
of this gigantic undertaking had now fallen. While clamour 
ing eagerly for a vigorous prosecution of the war, they had 
never stopped to inquire whether our military system had 
made provision for the efficient working of the complicated 
machinery of a great army in the field. When, therefore, it 
broke down, as it did for the reasons explained in the Prince s 
Memorandum, the public indignation was, as it could scarcely 
fail to be, directed against those whose misfortune it was to 
have to administer a radically defective system, at a juncture 
when it was put for the first time to the test of actual war 
fare with a powerful enemy. Grenius itself, either military 
or civil, while it might have averted many of the disasters, 
which were due to want of forethought and organisation, 
could scarcely have averted all. It could not improvise the 
well-trained and experienced soldiers, who were wanted to 
supply the huge gaps created by the losses from battle and 
disease ; neither could it organise, in defiance of the restric 
tions of a sleepy routine, the system of transport, of ambu 
lances, and hospital management, which should have been 
established and in good working order before our army took 
the field. When the horrible and heart-rending suffering 
which had resulted and obviously must continue to result 
from these flaws in our military system became known in 
England, a storm of indignation arose, which sought a vent 
in exaggerated abuse not only of the leaders in the field, but 
of the Administration at home. 

The Head of the Administration had all along been un 
justly accused of supineness in the prosecution of the war ; 
and in this he was assumed to be countenanced by the Peelite 


section of the Cabinet, to which the two War Secretaries, the 
Duke of Newcastle and Mr. Sidney Herbert, belonged. This 
supineness, said to be begotten of a deep-seated antipathy to the 
war itself, was alleged to lie at the root of all that had gone 
amiss in the conduct of the campaign ; and, with incredible 
unfairness, the men responsible for the honour of the Empire 
and for the well-being of the army were accused of being not 
merely insensible to these duties, but too indolent to bestir 
themselves towards meeting the tremendous exigencies of the 
hour. The truth was all the other way. They had been the 
first to see the mischiefs which the defects of our system were 
bringing upon us, and had toiled day and night to repair them 
by every means in their power. While the other members of 
the Cabinet were seeking rest in the country, Lord Aberdeen 
and the Duke of Newcastle remained in London, meeting, to 
the utmost of their ability, every want which was brought 
to their notice from head-quarters, and anticipating others, 
which the best practical advice within their reach at home 
suggested as likely to arise. Knowing better than any other 
men could know what the evils were that demanded cure, 
their days and nights were racked with anxiety, from the 
consciousness that any complete cure was beyond their reach. 
It was the one subject which occupied all their energies ; 
and yet they were singled out for obloquy as mainly respon 
sible for the confusion and suffering which prevailed both at 
the seat of war and in the hospitals on the Bosphorus. 

While bearing as best they might the imputations to which 
they were exposed from without, an agitation arose within 
the Cabinet itself to augment their anxieties. Early in 
November Lord John Russell appealed to Lord Aberdeen to 
concentrate the offices of Secretary at War and Secretary of 
State for War, displacing the Duke of Newcastle, and vesting 
both offices in Lord Palmerston, as the only man who, from 
experience of military details, from inherent vigour of mind, 

o 2 


and from weight with the House of Commons, could be ex 
pected to guide the great operations of war with authority 
and success. While expressly disclaiming any intention to 
impute blame to the Duke, Lord John urged that he had 
not c the authority requisite for so great a sphere, and had 
not been able to do all that might have been done with 
larger powers of control. 2 The appeal took Lord Aberdeen 
wholly by surprise, as he had hitherto been under the impres 
sion that Lord John had preferred the Duke of Newcastle to 
Lord Palmerston for the War Department, when the appoint 
ment was originally made. He felt that, if Lord John were 
acting with the concurrence of Lord Palmerston, a break-up 
of the Government was inevitable ; and he stated this as his 
conviction to the Queen, who saw at a glance, how disastrous 
were the consequences likely to ensue from such a state of 
things, at this critical period in the great struggle in which 
we were engaged. 

The Minister at whom the attack was ostensibly directed 
at once placed himself at the disposal of his chief. In a 
Memorandum dated the 27th of November, the Prince re 
cords that the Duke of Newcastle, though deeply mortified 
at the reckless manner in which Lord John contemplated 
ruining his reputation and public position, begged most 
earnestly to be removed, if this were the only way to keep 
the Cabinet together. But the Cabinet were in no way 
disposed to accept such a sacrifice ; and Lord Palmerston 
himself, it was ascertained, regarded Lord John s proposition 
to concentrate the offices held by the Duke of Newcastle and 
Mr. Sidney Herbert in one person, and that person himself, 
as impracticable, it being impossible for any one man to do 
the work of the two offices, both of which he knew well. 
Accordingly, in replying to Lord John Russell s proposition, 
Lord Aberdeen stated that, whatever question might fairly 
2 Letter from Lord John Russell to Earl of Aberdeen, 25th November, 1854. 

1855 AND THE CABINET. 197 

have been entertained in the first instance as to whether Lord 
Palmer st on or the Duke of Newcastle were the better fitted for 
the office, it is a very different thing to displace a man, who 
has discharged its duties honourably and ably, merely in the 
belief that another might be found more efficient. Undoubt 
edly the public service must be the first object ; but, in the 
absence of any proved defect or alleged incapacity, I can see 
no sufficient reason for such a change, which, indeed, I think 
is forbidden by a sense of justice and good faith. 3 

Finding that the Cabinet, including Lord Palmerston, 
concurred in the opinion thus expressed, Lord John Eussell 
intimated his intention to resign at the end of the short 
autumn session then impending. The effect, if not indeed 
the object, of such a step, it was felt, must be to drive Lord 
Aberdeen from office. Had he consulted merely personal feel 
ing, most willingly would Lord Aberdeen have resigned its 
cares to the hands of the ex-Premier, who had long shown so 
much anxiety to undertake them. But he knew well that his 
Cabinet would not accept Lord John Eussell for their leader, 
and to abdicate would have been simply to throw matters 
into confusion. He therefore determined to remain at his 
post ; and, if Lord John Eussell adhered to his expressed in 
tention, to replace him as leader of the House of Commons 
by Lord Palmerston, an arrangement which had the full 
concurrence of the Sovereign. On maturer reflection, how 
ever, Lord John did not push matters to extremity, and on the 
16th of December Lord Aberdeen wrote to the Queen, that in 
an interview with him that day, Lord John Eussell admitted 
that he had changed his intention, and attributed this change 
chiefly to a conversation yesterday with Lord Panmure, who, 
although a great Military Eeformer, had convinced him that 
the present was not a fitting time for the proposed changes. 
Nothing but a sense of public duty overbearing all personal 

3 Letter from Earl of Aberdeen to Lord John Kussell, 24th November, 1854. 


considerations could have reconciled Lord Aberdeen to accept 
this sudden submission of a rebellious colleague, which he 
felt gave no security for a single week. But, as he wrote 
in the same letter, the scandal of a rupture would be so 
great, and the evils which might ensue are so incalculable, that 
he was sincerely convinced it would be most advantageous 
for Her Majesty s service and the public to endeavour, by a 
conciliatory and prudent course of conduct, to preserve 
tranquillity and union as long as possible. 

The scandal, as events proved, was not to be concealed, 
nor the union to be preserved; but knowing, as Her Ma 
jesty did, how severe had been the strain upon the patience 
and self-sacrifice of Lord Aberdeen, she took the oppor 
tunity, in acknowledging his letter, of expressing how deeply 
she was e impressed by the admirable temper, forbearance, 
and firmness with which Lord Aberdeen had conducted the 
whole of this very difficult and annoying transaction. 4 

The blow which had menaced the existence of the Ministry 
was delayed, but not averted. It came from the same 
quarter, and at a time and in a manner that could not have 
been foreseen. 

Parliament re-assembled on the 23rd of January. In the 
month which had elapsed since the close of the short autumn 
Session, the tide of public sympathy and indignation had 
been raised to the flood by the tidings of fresh sufferings 

4 It was under the influence of this feeling, and a deep impression of the 
injustice of the attacks to which Lord Aberdeen was at this time daily ex 
posed, that the Queen wrote to him on the 10th of January, 1855 : 

Before Parliament meets, for probably a stormy Session, the Queen wishes 
to give a public testimony of her continued confidence in Lord Aberdeen s 
administration by offering him the vacant Blue Kibbon. The Queen need not 
add a word on her personal feelings of regard and friendship for Lord Aber 
deen, which are known io him for now already a long period of years. Lord 
Aberdeen at first hesitated to accept the honour, thinking that it might be 
better bestowed in another quarter ; but he ultimately yielded, on Her Majesty s 
representation that his right to the distinction was paramount. He was in 
stalled at a Chapter of the Knights of the Garter on the 7th of February. 


from the seat of war. The Ministry were straining every 
nerve to apply the necessary remedies, but they were well 
aware that on the meeting of Parliament they would have to 
face a formidable attack, and probably a direct motion formally 
condemning their conduct of the war. Every conversation 
in every street, the leading articles in every newspaper, must 
have satisfied every man that such a motion was to be looked 
for. 5 Meanwhile, Lord John Eussell remained in office, and 
his colleagues heard from him no word of complaint or dis 
satisfaction with what was being done. 

The very day the House met, several notices of motion 
were given, for the purpose of bringing the state of the army 
under critical review. The most formidable of these was 
one by Mr. Eoebuck for the appointment of a Select Com 
mittee to inquire into the condition of our army before 
Sebastopol, and into the conduct of those departments of the 
Government whose duty it has been to minister to the 
wants of that army. According to all precedent, prece 
dent founded upon the only sound principle of ministerial 
responsibility, such a notice should have been the signal for 
the Ministry to close their ranks, and to vindicate with one 
accord the action of those of its members, on whom more 
particularly the conduct of the war had devolved. It was, 
therefore, with a feeling of no ordinary surprise that the 
Queen and the Cabinet received the intimation next day, 
that Lord John Eussell had tendered his resignation, because 
he did not see how the motion was to be resisted. 

Lord John s letter, written on the day the notice of the 
motion was given, Lord Aberdeen informed the Queen per 
sonally on the 25th inst., had come without the slightest 
notice or warning, and he added that, whatever the cause 
for it might be, its object could only be to upset the 
Government. The Duke of Newcastle, he continued, on 

5 Speech of Lord Palmerston in House of Commons, 31st January, 1855. 


seeing Lord John s letter, had at once proposed that, as a 
victim seemed to be required to appease the public for the 
want of success in the Crimea, he was quite ready to be that 
victim, and entreated Lord Aberdeen to put his office into 
the hands of Lord Palmerston, who possessed the confidence 
of the nation. Lord Palmerston, while admitting that 
somehow or other the public had a notion that he would 
manage the War Department better than anybody else, pro 
tested that, as for himself, he did not expect to do it half so 
well as the Duke of Newcastle. Still, he would have been 
prepared to try it rather than let the Government be dis 
solved, which he considered would at this moment be a real 
calamity for the country. When, however, the matter had 
come before the Cabinet that day, the Whig members had 
not seen their way to carry on the Government without Lord 
John Eussell, and had come to the determination to follow 
his example and to tender their resignations. 

Profoundly impressed by the difficulties which she appre 
hended in the formation of a new Ministry, the Queen protested 
against this decision, as exposing herself and the country to 
extreme peril, it being manifestly impossible to change the 
Government at such a moment without deranging the whole 
external policy in diplomacy and war. A break-up of the 
Government at this time would also exhibit to the world the 
humiliating spectacle of a disorganisation among our states 
men at home, akin to that which had become too palpable 
among our military men at the seat of war, and had already 
tended greatly to lower our prestige in the eyes of Europe. 
Her Majesty, therefore, urged Lord Aberdeen to make a 
further appeal to the Cabinet to stand by her, and he left 
her promising to do so to the best of his ability, but with 
little hope of success. The appeal was not made in vain, 
and in the evening of the same day Lord Aberdeen informed 
the Queen, that the Cabinet had agreed to retain office for 


the present, and to await the issue of the debate on Mr. 
Eoebuck s motion. 

This much, at least, it must have been clear to them, upon 
reflection, they were bound to do. With the challenge 
thrown down to them by Mr. Eoebuck, what would have 
been said, had they shrunk from facing the judgment 
of Parliament on their past conduct? The considerations, 
which were expressed by Mr. Gladstone with his wonted 
eloquence a few nights afterwards, were too obvious to be 
overlooked : 

If they had no spirit, what kind of epitaph would be placed 
over their remains ? He would himself have thus written it : 
" Here lie the dishonoured ashes of a Ministry which found 
England at peace and left it at war, which was content to enjoy 
the emoluments of office and to wield the sceptre of power, so 
long as no man had the courage to question their existence. 
They saw the storm gathering over the country ; they heard 
the agonising accounts which were almost daily received of the 
sick and wounded in the East. But had these things moved 
them ? As soon, however, as the member for Sheffield raised 
his hand to point the thunderbolt, they shrank away conscience- 
stricken ; the sense of guilt overwhelmed them, and to escape 
from punishment, they ran away from duty." 

If the Ministry had at any time a chance of success in 
resisting Mr. Eoebuck s motion, they could have had none 
now, when so important a member of their body as Lord 
John Eussell had given countenance to the worst that had 
been said against them, by his secession from their ranks 
the very day before that motion was to be discussed. Such 
a step was certain to be construed as a virtual admission that 
they had no defence to make. Nor were the opponents of 
the Ministry, however little they might approve the action 
of Lord John in abandoning his colleagues in the moment 
of danger, slow to avail themselves of the advantage which 
he had placed within their grasp. At the same time, he 


found little mercy at their hands. They asked with un 
answerable force, if the system of military administration 
were so bad as he represented it to be, why during the many 
years when he had himself been at the head of affairs, why 
especially in 1848 and 1849, when the dread of a French 
invasion had amounted almost to a panic, had he made no 
movement towards its reform ? Could he, moreover, when 
he had assented to the measures of the Government, hope to 
escape from bearing his share of discredit for these measures, 
if discredit there were, by leaving his colleagues to vindicate 
them against an attack for which he had himself given the 
cue ? Was it seemly that he should break up the Ministry 
at the risk of discrediting us before our Allies, weakening us 
before our enemy, and endangering the league with Austria, 
so important for the future, which still hung wavering in 
the balance ? Not even friendly critics could justify the 
step which Lord John Russell had taken, or gainsay the 
general opinion, that it was not calculated either to confer 
lustre upon a statesman who in past years had established 
many claims on the nation s regard, or to raise the character 
of Parliamentary government. 

The debate on Mr. Roebuck s motion extended over two 
nights, ending in its being carried by a majority of 157, 
only 148 voting with Ministers, and 305, including a great 
number of the Liberal party, voting against them. The 
result seemed to take the House by surprise ; the usual 
cheer of triumph was withheld, and in its stead came a 
murmur of amazement, followed by derisive laughter. 

Next day (30th January) Lord Aberdeen placed the 
resignation of the Cabinet in the hands of the Queen. Lord 
Derby, as the leader of the party which was numerically the 
strongest, and by whose preponderance of votes Mr. Roebuck s 
motion had been carried, was forthwith summoned to the 
Palace. He came next day, and in the interview which 

1 85 5 MINISTRY RESIGN. 203 

ensued disclaimed all responsibility for what had happened, 
saying that there had been no communication with Mr. 
Roebuck, but that his followers could not help voting for the 
motion, when Lord John Russell told them, on authority, that 
there was the most ample cause for inquiry, and the whole 
country cried out for it. His party, he owned, was the most 
compact, mustering in number about 250, but it wanted men 
capable of governing the House of Commons, and, unless 
strengthened by other combinations, he could not hope to pre 
sent an administration that would be accepted by the country, 
He was aware that the whole country cried out for Lord 
Palmerston as the only fit man to carry on the war with 
success, and he acknowledged the necessity of having him 
in the Ministry, were it only to satisfy the French Grovern- 
ment, whose confidence it was of the greatest importance to 
secure. Lord Derby did not concur in the general opinion 
as to Lord Palmerston s fitness for the War Office, but he 
might have the lead of the House of Commons, which Mr. 
Disraeli was ready to give up to him. At the same time, 
even if Lord Palmerston joined him, he could not hope to 
meet the House of Commons without the assistance of the 
Peelites. L T nless, therefore, he could obtain this, he could 
not undertake the task of forming a government, and he sug 
gested that Her Majesty might in that event attempt other 
combinations with Lord John Russell, and Lord Lansdowne, 
and their friends. Should all attempts fail, however, he 
would be ready to come forward to the rescue of the country 
with such materials as he had, but it would be " a desperate 

By the next day Lord Derby had ascertained, that he could 
not count on more than an independent support from Lord 
Palmerston, Mr. Gladstone, and Mr. Sidney Herbert, which, 
he told the Queen, reminded him of the definition of the 
independent M.P., viz. one that could not be depended on. 


He could not, therefore, undertake the task which Her 
Majesty had proposed to him. 

After Lord Derby had taken leave of the Queen, the 
Prince records in a Memorandum the same day, with 
reiterated assurances of gratitude and loyalty, I had a long 
conversation with him, pointing out to him facts with which 
he could not be familiar, concerning our army in the Crimea, 
our relations with our ally, negotiations with the - Grerman 
Courts, the state of public men and the press in this country, 
which convinced me that the country was in a crisis of the 
greatest magnitude, and the Crown in the greatest difficulties, 
and that these could not be successfully overcome, unless 
political parties would manifest a little more patriotism than 
hitherto. They behaved a good deal like his independent 
M.P., and tried to aggravate every little mishap in order to 
snatch party advantages out of it. 5 The Prince communicated 
to Lord Derby some striking illustrations of the effect which 
had thus been produced in lowering us in the eyes of foreign 
Governments, Lord Derby rejoined by quoting a remark of 
Count \Valewski s which had reached him as to our position 
at the impending Vienna Conferences : What influence can 
a country like England pretend to exercise, which has no 
army and no government ? I told him, says the Prince, 
4 Walewski was right, as every one here took pains to prove, 
that we had no army, and to contrive that the Queen should 
have no government. He promised to do \\hat he could 
to relieve the difficulties of the country. 6 

6 We may cite, as one indication among many, which reached the Prince 
at this time, of the construction put upon the stories so lavishly published by 
ourselves of the state of matters in the English camp, the report from one of 
the shrewdest observers in Europe, who was, moreover, in a position to hear what 
was said in the most influential quarters abroad. Everywhere the remark is 
to be heard " England as a great Power is to be feared no more. She never 
can find men enough to carry on the war effectually, although she may effect 
great exploits." The Russians everywhere are in the highest spirits. The 
Emperor Nicholas has written to his sister, "She may rely on his assurance, 
Sebastopol will never be taken." 


The Queen now turned to Lord Lansdowne for assistance,, 
but all he had to say merely served to show that Her Majesty 
had only too well foreseen the difficulties that must arise 
from the displacement of the late Administration. Lord 
John Eussell, it seemed, was under the belief a belief not 
shared, however, by Lord Lansdowne that he could form a 
strong Ministry, even without the support of the Peelites. 
That they would not serve under him was certain ; indeed, 
it was more than doubtful whether they would even serve with 
him. Again, Lord Palmerston, Lord Lansdowne believed, 
would not take office under Lord John Eussell, but would 
himself be ready to form an Administration. This, however, 
unless it included Lord John, would certainly fall to pieces. 
Both would be willing to serve under Lord Lansdowne him 
self, but he was seventy-five, crippled with the gout, and 
could not undertake such a task except for a few months, 
when the Administration would again break down, and all 
be again confusion. As matters stood, no effective combina 
tion could, in his opinion, be formed until Lord John Russell 
had the opportunity afforded him of trying what he could do. 
He would undoubtedly fail, but his failure would at least 
silence the opposition which would otherwise be raised by 
his followers and himself. In these circumstances the Queen 
considered that one course was alone open to her. Next to 
Lord Derby and his followers, Lord John Russell had caused 
the overthrow of the late Government. Lord Derby had 
declined to undertake the task of organising a Cabinet to 
succeed them, and, according to all constitutional usage, she 
was now entitled and bound to ask Lord John Russell to 
extricate her from her present embarrassment. 

In adopting this course, however, the Queen thought it 
right to place on record the reasons which had influenced 
her determination. She accordingly wrote to Lord John 
Russell as follows : 


Buckingham Palace, 2nd February, 1855. 

* The Queen has just seen Lord Lansdowne after his return 
from his conference with Lord John Eussell and Lord 
Palmerston. As moments are precious, and the time is 
rolling on without the various consultations which Lord 
Lansdowne has had the kindness and patience to hold with 
the various persons composing the Queen s late Grovernment 
having led to any positive result, she feels that she ought to 
entrust some one of them with the distinct commission to 
attempt the formation of a Grovernment. The Queen 
addresses herself in this instance to Lord John Eussell as the 
person who may be considered to have contributed to the 
vote of the House of Commons which displaced her last 
Government, and hopes that he will be able to present to 
her such a Grovernment as will give a fair promise success 
fully to overcome the great difficulties in which the country 
is placed. 

It would give her particular satisfaction if Lord Palmer 
ston would join in this formation. 

Lord Palmerston was much gratified by the wish thus ex 
pressed in regard to himself, proving as it did that the 
unpleasant incidents of former years were not remembered 
by the Sovereign to his disadvantage. In an audience, 
which he requested in consequence of the message conveyed 
to him through Lord John Eussell, he let this be seen. He 
assured the Queen of his readiness to serve Her Majesty in 
any way he could under the present difficulties. He had no 
objection to take office under Lord John, but having a choice 
between the War Department and the lead of the House of 
Commons, he declared his preference for the latter. The 
duties of both offices were, in his opinion, too heavy for one 
man to perform. It would, however, be an essential condi- 


tion that Lord Clarendon should remain at the Foreign 

Her Majesty had by this time learned from Lord John 
Eussell himself that he too considered the co-operation of 
Lord Clarendon to be indispensable. She therefore sent for 
him to ascertain whether it might be hoped for. From what 
passed it was manifest that it could not. Lord Clarendon 
considered that it was idle in Lord John to attempt to form 
a Government. No one, either of his own party in the late 
Government, or of the general public, believed he could do 
so. Even if he did get one together, it would be still-born 
and trodden under foot the very first day of its existence, 
composed as it would be of the same men who had been 
bankrupt in 1852, minus two of the best of their number 
viz. Lord Lansdowne and Lord Grey and with the head of it 
irretrievably damaged in the eyes of the public by his recent 
proceedings. Were he (Lord Clarendon) to remain at the 
Foreign Office, his language to foreign countries would lose 
all its weight, because it would be known not to rest upon 
public opinion. What, moreover, would be thought of him 
were he to accept as his leader the man who, while in the late 
Ministry, had steadily worked for the overthrow of Lord 
Aberdeen and his Peelite colleagues, and for the reinstatement 
in office of an exclusively Whig Ministry ? He would be no 
party to such an arrangement. The conduct of all his col 
leagues towards himself had been most straightforward and 
honourable, and loyalty to them forbade any alliance with 
one of whom they had such well-founded reason to complain. 

Meanwhile, the conviction was being painfully brought 
home to Lord John Eussell that the task which he had 
undertaken with alacrity was desperate. He probably neither 
hoped nor greatly cared to secure the adhesion of the Peelites, 
but when one by one his own familiar friends Sir George 
Grey, Lord Lansdowne, and Lord Clarendon declined to 


place themselves under his lead, his eyes were opened to the 
fact, of which they had all along been fully conscious, that his 
political position was for the moment too gravely compro 
mised for any stable Ministry to be established under his 
guidance. The true state of affairs was quickly ascertained, 
and he had no alternative but to resign into Her Majesty s 
hands the task with which he had been entrusted less than 
forty-eight hours before. 

The Ministerial crisis had practically begun with his resigna 
tion of office on the 23rd of January. The 4th of February 
was now reached, and the country was still without a Govern 
ment. This was producing the worst effect abroad. That 
very day Lord Cowley wrote from Paris to Lord Clarendon : 
4 1 wish to heaven that a Government of some sort was 
formed. I cannot exaggerate the mischief that the state of 
things is causing to our reputation as a nation, or the dis 
repute into which it is bringing Constitutional Government. 

In this dilemma the Queen lost not a moment in address 
ing herself to Lord Palmerston, and asking him whether he 
could undertake to form an Administration which would 
command the confidence of Parliament and efficiently con 
duct public affairs in this momentous crisis. Lord Palmer 
ston had throughout this anxious time shown so genuine a 
public spirit that, even if his own great ability and expe 
rience, as well as the public voice, had not designated him 
as worthy of the trust, the Queen would have felt bound to 
place it in his hands. 7 It was at once accepted, and in the 
course of the next day he reported that Lord Lansdowne, the 
Lord Chancellor, Lord Clarendon, Lord Granville, Sir George 
Grey, and Sir Charles Wood had agreed to take office under 

7 I am. backed by the general opinion of the whole country, and I have no 
reason to complain of the least want of cordiality or confidence on the part of 
the Court. Lord Palmerston to his brother, Sir William Temple, 15th Feb 
ruary, 1855. Ashley s Life of Lord Palmerston, vol. ii. p. 771. 


him. Mr. Gladstone, Mr. S. Herbert, and the Duke of 
Argyle had declined, on the ground of personal and political 
attachment to Lord Aberdeen, against whom, as well as 
against the Duke of Newcastle, they considered the adverse 
vote of the House of Commons to have been levelled. Both 
these noblemen, however, on hearing of their refusal, had 
exerted themselves strongly to prevail upon their friends to 
change their opinion ; and next day the Queen had tke 
satisfaction to learn from Lord Aberdeen that they had 
yielded to his representations, and placed themselves in his 

Lord Palmerston had good reason to appreciate the gene^ 
rosity with which his old chief had interposed to remove 
this formidable impediment to his success. 8 Nor was Her 
Majesty less grateful; and, in her letter (6th February) 
announcing to Lord Aberdeen that Lord Palmerston had 
just kissed hands upon his appointment as Premier, she told 
him that she was now relieved from great anxiety and 
difficulty, and felt that she owed much to Lord Aberdeen s 
kind and disinterested assistance. 

With the exception of Lord Aberdeen, the Duke of New- 

8 Mr. Ashley quotes (vol. ii. p. 80) a letter of Lord Palmerston to Lord Aber 
deen, which is the best of all evidence that the charge against Lord Aberdeen, 
that he had driven Lord Palmerston from office in December 1853, which has 
recently been advanced by Mr. Kinglake, is unfounded (Invasion of tlie Crimea, 
vol. ii. pp. 28, 29, 30.). "Would Lord Aberdeen have tried to install as Premier 
a man whom, a year before, he had driven from office, or would Lord Palmerston 
have not merely accepted, but courted the help of the man who had so treated 
him? See how he writes: 12th February, 1855. I called at your door yes 
terday, and was sorry not to have found you at home. I wanted to say how 
much I have to thank you for your handsome conduct, and for your friendly 
and energetic exertions in removing the difficulties which I at first experienced 
in my endeavour to reconstitute the Government in such a manner as to combine 
in it all the strength which, in the circumstances of the moment, it was possible 
to bring together. I well know, that without your assistance that most desir 
able and important eombination could not have been effected. Life of Lord 
Palmerston, vol. ii. p. 80. 



castle, and Lord John Russell, the new Cabinet was identical 
with that which it succeeded, the only material addition 
being Lord Panmure as Secretary at War. It was hoped 
that the Grovernment would now be free to address them 
selves to the great questions of the hour, the vigorous 
prosecution of the war, and the relief of the army, of which 
the worst accounts continued to be received. Thus, when 
the 10th of February came round, the fifteenth anniversary 
of the Royal marriage, the anxieties of the last few weeks 
had been somewhat relieved. Again the Royal children had 
a pleasant festival ready for the day, and the Prince records 
that in the evening they performed their piece " Little 
Red Riding Hood " extremely well, followed by a tableau, 
and occasional verses spoken by Alice. Among the con 
gratulations which reached Her Majesty, those of Colonel 
Phipps, the Keeper of the Queen s Privy Purse, and also 
Treasurer to the Prince, had a special value, as coming from 
one who had intimate reason to know the noble qualities of 
the Prince : 

It is hardly necessary, he wrote, to declare how sincere 
must be the congratulations to Your Majesty personally from 
any one who has the happiness to be admitted to a confidential 
position in Your Majesty s family. But it is as an Englishman 
that Colonel Phipps feels he has almost a claim to express his 
feelings of rejoicing upon the day which conferred upon his 
country the inestimable blessing of the presence of the Prince 
in the position he holds. Colonel Phipps believes, not from his 
heart merely, but from more sober experience and matured 
judgment, that it is perfectly impossible to estimate the value 
of his Royal Highness as Consort to Your Majesty. 

It would be much to deserve tbe gratitude of a nation, that 
the family of Your Majesty exhibits a pattern which may be 
well imitated by the best of Your Majesty s subjects ; but it is 
only those who come into contact with his Royal Highness, 
wlio are fully aware of the amount of ability and judgment, 
joined to the most undeviating singleness of purpose and probity 


of mind, by which Your Majesty is assisted upon occasions like 
that which has just passed. 

When it was found that the new Cabinet was virtually 
the same as Lord Aberdeen s, those who had been most active 
in displacing him were far from being conciliated. It had 
been thought that they would have been appeased by the 
sacrifice of the two chief objects of their hostility, and that 
no further action would be taken upon Mr. Roebuck s 
motion. How such a belief ever came to be entertained it 
is not easy to see. Having declared the necessity for 
inquiry by overwhelming numbers, what had occurred to 
make the House of Commons recede from its decision ? 
Lord Aberdeen and the Duke of Newcastle had indeed been 
driven from office. But the condition of affairs remained 
the same, with the difference that the statements which 
they had made to the House of Lords in announcing their 
resignation on the 1st of February had created a revulsion 
of feeling in their favour. Doubts had even begun to arise 
in the minds of their bitterest opponents, whether they had 
not been mistaken in attacking the men, when it was not 
they that were in fault, but the system by which they were 
hampered. In this mood the majority were not likely to listen 
to arguments, however sound or eloquently enforced, that it 
was unconstitutional to transfer to a committee of the House 
of Commons what were strictly the functions of the Executive. 
An appeal to the House by Lord Palmerston on the 16th of 
February, if not to reverse, at least to suspend its decision, 
was met by the most decided indications that it was deter 
mined to adhere to its former resolution, and Mr. Roebuck 
gave notice of his intention to move the appointment of his 
Committee forthwith. After this, resistance was impossible, 
as it could only be followed by a defeat and a fresh Minis 
terial crisis. The country was bent on having the inquiry, 
and therefore it was that the House of Commons insisted 

p 2 


upon it, and not from hostility to the new Ministry. , Had 
such hostility existed, the House, it was felt, would not have 
voted, as they had just done, largely increased Estimates 
without a murmur for the purpose of increasing the strength 
of both army and navy. 

These considerations, however, although they prevailed 
with the majority of the Cabinet, were not sufficient to 
outweigh the objections of Sir James Graham, Mr. Glad 
stone, and Mr. Sidney Herbert to the proposed investiga 
tion, which they regarded as a dangerous breach of a great 
constitutional principle, after which it would be impossible 
for the Executive ever again to oppose any demand for 
inquiry, however unreasonable. They therefore announced 
their intention to retire from the Ministry, a step, perhaps, 
less to be wondered at, seeing that they had joined it with 
manifest reluctance, and probably felt that they were re 
garded by the Whig party, on which the strength of the 
Cabinet mainly rested, with all the jealousy of men sore at 
being kept out of office by those whom they scarcely re 
garded as friends. In this resolution they were followed by 
Mr. Cardwell ; and, within a fortnight from the formation of 
Lord Palmerston s G-overnment, the country learned, with 
surprise and mortification, that it was broken up by the se 
cession of several of its most influential members. 

On the 23rd, the usual explanations were made to the House 
of Commons. From these it was easy to gather that, beyond 
the immediate question in dispute, there were wide diver 
gences of opinion between the Government and its late col 
leagues, which must speedily have drawn them further apart, 
and which, indeed, soon afterwards took the form of decided 
hostility. Lord Palmerston was able, however, to triumph 
over the difficulties which had come upon him so unex 
pectedly, and by the 28th the names of Sir G-eorge Cornewall 
Lewis, Lord John Eussell, Mr. Vernon Smith, and Lord 


Stanley of Aldeiiey were announced as having been selected 
to fill the vacant places. 9 

If weakened by the change in intellectual vigour and 
administrative experience, the Cabinet had at least gained 
in unity of purpose and action. In the present crisis this 
was of primary importance, as giving assurance of that 
resolute and energetic action, which could alone restore con 
fidence and tranquillity to the country. How necessary this 
was may be inferred from the following passage in a letter 
from the Prince to the Dowager Duchess of Coburg, written 
on the 23rd, when the excitement occasioned by the seces 
sion of Sir James Graham and his friends was at its 
height : 

( Things have gone mad here, the political world is quite 
crazy, and the Court is the only institution which does not 
lose its tranquil bearing. Nevertheless, the people will soon 
come to their senses again. The press, which for its own 
ends exaggerates the sufferings of our troops in the Crimea, 
has made the nation quite furious. It is bent upon punish 
ing all and sundry, and cannot find the right person, because 
he does not exist. 

In the midst of all the pressure of political cares at home 
and abroad, the Prince still found time to think of the to 
him more congenial arts of peace. On the 28th his Diary 
records that he presided that day at a meeting of the Exhi 
bition Commission, and drew up for the Government a proposal 
to purchase a portion of the Bernal Collection a purchase, 
that laid the foundation of the great Museum of Art and 
Manufactures at South Kensington, which has now become 
one of the most important and interesting in Europe. 

9 The narrative of the Ministerial crisis given in this Chapter has been 
prepared from very elaborate Memoranda, drawn up by the Prince from day 
to day, while it lasted. 



THE Prince had good reason for what he said when he wrote 
that, while the nation and political parties were in a state of 
frenzy about the miseries of our army in the Crimea, the 
Court was the only institution which had not lost its tranquil 
bearing. This was due neither to want of sympathy with 
the sufferings of our soldiers, nor to ignorance of the causes 
from which they sprang. But the very fulness of the infor 
mation of which the Queen and Prince were in possession 
enabled them to estimate these causes truly, to measure the 
extent of the evils they had produced, and, at the same time, 
to feel assured that they were not only remediable, but that 
the remedies were now in course of being energetically applied. 
If we had suffered, our Allies, despite the superiority of 
their army system, on which the English journals dwelt with 
exaggerated emphasis, had suffered also. Their forces en 
gaged in the siege being so much larger than ours, the 
burden of the labour in the trenches, which had done so 
much to exhaust the already enfeebled strength of our men, 
had fallen lightly upon theirs. 1 They had also been put 
to fewer straits for supplies, having two harbours to draw 
them from, both nearer to their lines than Balaclava was to 

1 In a letter among the Prince s papers from Miss Nightingale, writing 
from Balaclava to a friend, on the 10th of May, 1855, she says: Fancy 
working five nights out of seven in the trenches ! Fancy being thirty-six 
hours in them at a stretch, as they were all December, lying down, or half 
lying down, often forty-eight hours, with no food but raw salt pork sprinkled 
with sugar, rum, and biscuit ; nothing hot, because the exhausted soldier could 
not collect his own fuel, as he was expected to do, to cook his own ration : 
and fancy through all this the army preserving their courage and patience as 


ours, and both approached by good roads. Still they, no 
less than ourselves, had run short of forage; their loss in 
horses had consequently been enormous. Their rations were 
upon occasion so short, that the soldiers frequently bought 
biscuits from our men, and the sickness and mortality in 
their camp had been much greater than in our own. Even 
with the advantage of an organised transport and field- 
hospital service, they had found their system fail them in 
many respects under the peculiar circumstances of the siege. 
Little, however, was known about their shortcomings outside 
the highest official circles, for they had not among them a 
privileged set of censors to put the worst construction upon 
every inconvenience and evil ; nor had they a class of officers 
who think it becoming to fill the public prints with exagge 
ration and abuse. 2 

While writers in England were doing their utmost to dis 
credit those on whom the responsibility of conducting the 
siege rested, and to persuade our far from friendly critics 
throughout Europe that England s military power was no 
longer to be feared, 3 such was not the view taken by the 
ablest French officers upon the spot. Thus, for example, 
Colonel Vico, the French Commissioner attached to Lord 
Raglan s Staff, 4 writing home to Marshal Vaillant from before 
Sebastopol, on the 23rd of January, 1855, says, in allusion 

they have done, and being now eager (the old ones more than the young ones) 
to be led even into the trenches. There was something sublime in the 

2 Memorandum by Sir John Burgoyne given to Lord Raglan, dated Camp 
before Sebastopol, 7th February, 1855. Wrottesley s Life and Correspondence 
of Sir J. Burgoyne, vol. ii. p. 214. 

3 See note 3, p. 204 ante. Was it to be wondered at, if foreigners came to such 
conclusions, when in Parliament such language as this was not uncommon ? The 
country stood on the brink of ruin it had fallen into the abyss of disgrace, 
and become the laughing-stock of Europe. Mr. Layard, in House of Commons, 
19th February, 1855. 

4 This distinguished officer died, deeply regretted, at General Simpson s 
head-quarters, of cholera, on the 10th of July, 1855, a few days after Lord 
Raglan himself. 


to the attacks on Lord Raglan and his staff by a portion of 
the English press, that the state of things complained of 

4 Is the fault of the system, and not that of the Commander-in- 
chief or of those about him. This is felt to be the truth by every 
body here. ... To judge by what is said in the English journals, 
the situation of our allies is much worse than it is in fact and 
advantage is sure to be taken of those misrepresentations to 
revive the spirits (remrnier le moral) of the Russian army. The 
truth is, that they have suffered more than we have for the 
reasons I have already explained [want of transport, and of a 
corps d intendance, &c.], and for want of means of transport they 
have found it impossible to be in the same state of forwardness 
as ourselves. But their army is very far from having ceased to 
be of any practical help, as some would have it be believed, and, 
were the enemy to appear, he would find they would give him 
quite enough to do (il trouverait lien a qui purler de leur cote). 

By the time the mingled indignation and despondency at 
home had culminated in the vote which put an end to Lord 
Aberdeen s Administration, a decided improvement had taken 
place in the condition of the army before Sebastopol. Con 
siderable reinforcements had arrived, picquet and trench 
duty had been more widely distributed, the men were thus 
better rested, in better health, in better spirits, more warmly 
clad and better housed. The railway was making progress, 
and now the fine weather had begun to set in. The tidings 
of the despondency which prevailed in England, therefore, 
came with surprise upon the army itself, and they read with 
astonishment, not unmixed with bitterness, of the sugges 
tions which were freely made by the press, that the only way 
to save them was to put them under the command of the 
French for the purposes of reorganisation. 

* The statements made by the press in England, Sir John 
Burgoyne writes from the camp on the 13th of March, repeated 
in Parliament, and uncontradicted by Ministers, of the dreadful 
condition of this army, strike us with astonishment here. ... It 
has been stated in the newspapers, and by many members of 


Parliament, that by the middle of March, or in about a month 
from the period of their speeches in February, there would be no 
British army left in the Crimea. ... It is the fashion to talk of 
the army as consisting of 10,000 or 12,000 men. ... As soon as 
a new organisation for the field shall come into operation, .... 
you will find an army of at least 24,000 or 25,000 men ready to 
take the field, from " the miserable remnants of tlie British army 
now in the Crimea; " and I can assure you that the men are be 
ginning to look tolerably hearty and cheerful again. Hitherto, 
they have been seldom disturbed in wearing their sheepskin 
coats, fur caps, or anything they thought would add to their 
comfort. Now you see regiments and detachments turning out 
in the most respectable order, in their red coats, and looking the 
fine British soldier again ; Sir George Brown has even begun to 
call for the stiff stock to be resumed. 

The above is a more cheering account than you have been 
accustomed to contemplate. Is it possible, that Ministers are not 
.aware of it, and do not see it in that light ? At the same time I 
am, like everybody else, fully sensible of the hardships and 
severe sufferings that the troops have undergone. 5 

The Ministry, no less than the Queen and Prince, were 
of course well aware of the facts mentioned by Sir John 
Burgoyne, and they knew that what had already been done 
by the Duke of Newcastle, and what was in course of being 
done by his successor at the War Office, would go far to re 
dress what stili remained of the evils which had brought 
so much distress on the British forces. In this there was 
enough to engage the whole attention of the army depart 
ment at home. It was natural, therefore, that they should 
look with no great favour on the inquiry which the House 
of Commons had delegated to Mr. Roebuck s Committee. 
The additional labour which such an investigation was sure 
to throw upon officials already overtasked was something to 
be dreaded. Still this would have been cheerfully borne, 

5 Sir J. Burgoyne to Captain Matson, E.E. Life and Correspondence, vol. ii. 
p. 274. 


could they have believed that the inquiry would lead to 
valuable practical results. But the Government were al 
ready fully aware, from miserable experience, of the weak 
places in our military system, which it needed no Committee 
to establish. Committee or no Committee, the Government 
were alone responsible to the nation for seeing that these 
defects were removed, and no inquiry could advance this, 
the one all-important object. Our failure hitherto had been 
clearly due to the fact that we had commenced a great war 
with inadequate means, and that with these inadequate 
means we had attempted more than our army could possibly 
execute. 6 Men who thought calmly felt that the nation, in its 
impatience for decisive action, was not without its share of 
the responsibility for this grave mistake, and that it would be 
hopeless, as well as unfair, to attempt to fix it upon the indi 
viduals against whom the public anger had been assiduously 

Although as little inclined as Sir James Graham and his 
friends to approve the appointment of the Committee, either 
on the ground of constitutional principle or of practical utility, 
the Government determined to afford every facility for its 
inquiries. The country should have no reason to complain 
that any information was withheld. It should also know 
everything the Committee itself knew. There was not a 
flaw in our system, a weakness in our disposable forces, 
which had not been published to our enemies as well as to 
ourselves. When, therefore, Mr. Roebuck, supported by the 
majority of his Committee, moved the House of Commons 
(2nd March) to make the Committee one of Secrecy, it was 
BO generally acknowledged that no valid reason for this could 
be urged, that the motion was not pressed to a division. 

6 See on this subject an admirable speech by General Peel (19th February) 
in the Debate in the House of Commons on Mr. Layard s motion for a Com 
mittee of Inquiry on the Army Estimates. 


This point having been settled, the Committee at once 
entered upon their inquiry. It began on the 5th of March, 
and was continued from day to day, with only the intermis 
sion of the Easter holidays, until the 18th of June. Not 
withstanding these lengthened sittings, the Committee were 
in the end, as their Report bears, compelled to end an 
inquiry which they had been unable satisfactorily to com 
plete, partly from the absence of important witnesses on 
active service, and partly from restrictions imposed upon the 
Committee itself by considerations of State policy. Very 
early in their proceedings, they seem to have felt mis 
givings as to the probability of their inquiry leading to the 
results which had been anticipated. But, if they started 
with the idea that the calamities of the campaign were due 
to sinister influences at head-quarters, as it will presently be 
shown that some of them did, every step in their researches 
could only end in disappointment. 

That this idea was seriously entertained, and that the 
Prince Consort was the delinquent to whom the suspicions of 
certain members of the Committee pointed, will create as 
much surprise to our readers now as it did to the Prince 
himself, when he first learned it in the interview of which he 
has preserved a record in the following Memorandum : 

Buckingham Palace, 8th March, IS^o. 

The Duke of Newcastle told me yesterday evening that 
Mr Roebuck had been with him, and had asked him, whether 
he had any objection to being examined? The Duke replied, 
that he had the strongest on public grounds, thinking it most 
dangerous and injurious to the public service, but this 
question seemed to have been disposed of between the 
Government and the House of Commons ; on private 
grounds he was most anxious to be examined. Mr. Roebuck, 
after further conversation, told him that the conviction upon 


the minds of the Committee was daily gaining strength, that 
they would be able to discover very little here ; that the key 
to many mysteries could only be found at the head-quarters, 
and that in a high quarter there had been a determination 
that the expedition should not succeed, which had been 
suggested to the head-quarters. The Duke said, "Now I 
must be careful how I talk further with you, as I see you are 
laying the ground for an impeachment, as you can only mean 
me by a high quarter" " Oh no ! " answered Mr. Roebuck, 
44 1 mean a much higher personage than you ; I mean 
Prince Albert." 

The Duke was amazed, and did not know whether he was 
to be more astounded at the wickedness or the folly of such 
a belief. He told Mr. Eoebuck that he had a press full of 
letters from me in the very room where they met, and was 
almost tempted to show him some of them, as they gave con 
clusive evidence of my intense anxiety for the success of the 
expedition ; and he continued, " If during the time of my 
official duties I have received any suggestions which were 
more valuable to me than others, they did not come from 
your friends the Napiers, but from Prince Albert." 

Mr. Roebuck said he was very much astonished at what 
the Duke said, and that it had not been his belief only. 

The Duke proceeded further to reason with him, and, 
amongst other grounds to show him the stupidity of such a 
belief, he referred to the fact of the Queen s and my entire 
union in public matters, of the influence my advice naturally 
had with the Queen, of the Queen s having suffered materi 
ally in health from anxiety about her troops ; and yet it was 
to be supposed that all this time I had been working behind 
her back to produce that misery to myself ! Mr. Roebuck 
said they knew about the Queen s anxiety, as, when Lord 
Cardigan had been at Windsor, lie had had the Royal 
children upon his knees, and they said, " You must hurry 

i855 AS TO CALUMNIES. 221 

back to Sebastopol, and take it, else it will kill Mama ! ! ! " 
Can such stupidity be credited ? 

Mr. Roebuck lamented the appointment of Lord Raglan, 
who was unfit to command in the field, and whose services at 
home would have been most valuable, and attributed his ap 
pointment to my wish to get rid of him, in order to keep 
Lord Hardinge quite alone,, with whom I could do what I 
pleased ! ! The Duke told him he had selected Lord Raglan, 
and conferred with Lord Hardinge upon it long before either 
the Queen or myself had been made acquainted with the fact, 
and suggested, How was it for me afterwards to bring about 
the ruin of the army through the very man, who must have 
considered himself injured by me? 

The Duke asked me whether he could do or say anything 
that I might wish ? I replied that I did not see what could 
be said or done. We could not make people either virtuous 
or wise, and must only regret the monstrous degree to which 
their aberration extended. I must rest mainly upon a good 
conscience, and the belief that, during the fifteen years of my 
connection with this country, I had not given a human soul 
the means of imputing to me the want of sincerity or patrio 
tism. I myself had the conviction that the Queen and myself 
were perhaps the only two persons in the kingdom who had 
no other interest, thought, or desire than the good, the 
honour, and the power of the country: and this not unna 
turally, as no private interest can be thought of which could 
interfere with these considerations. 

I thought it right to keep this record of what the Duke 
told me, as a proof that the will at least to injure me is never 
wanting in certain circles, and that the gullibility of the 
public has no bounds. 

To use the Prince s own words, things must indeed have 
gone mad in England, before the suspicions against him 


expressed by Mr. Koebuck could have found any reasonable 
men even to repeat, much less to entertain them. What he 
now learned must have made it painfully clear, that the venom 
of the misrepresentations which had been so industriously 
propagated against him in 1853 still rankled in many minds. 
Slanders are hard to kill ; and the antagonism which pre-emi 
nent worth arouses in base natures continued to find vent in 
detraction and innuendo then, and indeed long afterwards. 7 
Shakspeare s aphorism that Back- wound ing calumny the 
whitest virtue strikes, could scarcely receive a more signal 
illustration. Its force will be felt by all who have followed the 
details, necessarily scanty although they be, which we have 
been able to give, of what the Prince had done to secure by 
energetic prosecution of the war the triumph of public law 

7 It may be convenient here once for all to dispose of perhaps the only 
calumny, of the many to which the Prince was subjected, which, so far as we 
are aware, keeps any hold upon the public mind, viz., that he had amassed 
large sums of money out of the income allowed him by the nation, part of which 
had been invested in the purchase of land at South Kensington, adjoining the 
property of the Exhibition Commissioners. The Prince never purchased any 
land at South Kensington either for himself or his family. Connected as he 
was with the acquisition of ground there for purely national purposes, the 
thought of acquiring property in the same locality for personal purposes would 
never have entered his mind, or the mind indeed of any honourable man. 
But, in truth, the Prince never had the means to make purchases of this 
nature. His whole income was no more than sufficient to meet the salaries 
of his secretaries and other officials and servants, his public subscriptions, 
and such purchases of works of art as were expected from him. He was often 
blamed, because these purchases were not on a larger scale. The fault was not 
with him, but in the very limited means at his disposal, and as to these his 
only regret was, that they did not enable him to do for art and science all 
that he would have wished. It was only by strict economy, that the year s 
current expenditure was made to square with the year s income, and the Prince 
died, leaving absolutely no fortune ; indeed, barely enough to meet his personal 
liabilities. And yet even recently we were assured, upon the authority of an 
eminent statesman, who survived the Prince many years, and who professed 
to speak from personal knowledge, that he left behind in one of his investments 
no less a sum than 600,000^.! The statesman in question was not always 
exact in his statements, and he was never less exact, or more inexcusably so, 
than in this instance. But if a man, whose position gave weight to his words, 
could propagate so mere a fable, it becomes necessary to give it, and all stories 
of the same kind, an emphatic denial. 


and the maintenance of European peace, for which he be 
lieved it to be waged. The written evidence of these efforts, 
in his communications with the Duke of Newcastle and other 
members of the Government, was overwhelming. 

The Duke of Newcastle s successor, Lord Panmure, soon 
experienced the same advantage as the Duke in the wise and 
energetic counsels, and accurate knowledge, of the Prince. 
Measures, as he found, had already been taken by his prede 
cessor for improving the state of things both in the Crimea and 
in the Hospital Service on the Bosphorus. A Land Transport 
Corps, under the direction of Colonel MacMurdo, had been 
organised by the Duke of Newcastle among the last acts 
of his administration. A Commission, at the head of which 
were Colonel Tulloch and Sir John MacNeill, was despatched 
to the Crimea t^o inquire into the organisation of the Com 
missariat and other departments, which had proved unequal 
to the strain upon them. The sanitary condition of the 
camp, as well as of the hospitals and barracks, also received 
the attention of separate Commissions. The want of unity 
and the mischievous delays which had arisen from the con 
flict of various Departments, were remedied by abolishing the 
Board of Ordnance, and concentrating the whole civil adminis 
tration of the army in the Secretary of State for War, and the 
military administration in the Commander-in-Chief. The 
announcement of these and other measures for securing the ef 
ficient conduct of the campaign, revived the public confidence, 
by creating the assurance that the resources would not be 
wasted, which the nation was now more resolved than ever to 
put forth for the prosecution of the war to a decisive close. 

Conferences with a view to peace on the basis of the Four 
Points were about to be opened at Vienna, and Lord John 
Russell had gone there as our representative. 8 By this ar- 

8 While on his way there he was offered and accepted the office of Colonial 
Secretary, which had become vacant by the retirement of Mr. Sidney Herbert. 


rangement Lord Palmerston conciliated one who might have 
proved a doubtful ally, if not even a dangerous adversary, 
and gave him at the same time an opportunity to retrieve 
the reputation which had been not a little impaired by his 
recent proceedings. However greatly these might have been 
disapproved, the country could not doubt that Lord John 
Russell might be trusted in the impending negotiations only 
to entertain terms in which the honour of the country was 
fully maintained, and reasonable guarantees given for the 
permanent peace, which it had been the object of the Allies 
in entering upon the war to secure. That such terms would 
be conceded by Kussia, until she was crippled by defeats 
more severe than any she had yet sustained, the statesmen 
who knew her best did not venture to anticipate. It was 
true that she had agreed to treat on the footing of the Four 
Points. But it was hard to reconcile her ostensible accept 
ance of these now with all her former declarations. So lately 
as the 26th of August, 1854, Count Nesselrode had, in a 
Despatch to Prince Grortschakoff, expressly refused to enter 
into negotiations on the basis of the Four Points, because 
they could not be interpreted, except in the sense which we 
had since expressed in terms. He had at the same time 
stated, that Russia would assent to them only if she were 
in extremis, and then only for the moment, as she would 
never abide by a peace concluded on such a footing. Nothing 
had occurred since to make it probable that these views had 
been modified. Some distrust in the sincerity of Eussia s ac 
ceptance of the basis for the Conference was therefore not 
unnatural. At the same time, the negotiations were entered 
upon with a sincere desire on the part of the Allies to con 
clude a peace if possible ; and, as the operations of war were 
in the meantime in no way relaxed, the turn of events might 
at any moment bear down the opposition, against which the 
arguments of mere diplomacy would be powerless. 


The announcement of the unexpected death of the Czar 
on the 2nd of March of pulmonic apoplexy, induced by an 
attack of influenza, struck the people of England with sur 
prise. Nothing had been heard of his illness, and it was 
with a feeling of awe, 9 and not of exultation, that they learned 
that the indomitable will, in baffling which so many a British 
home had been made desolate, could no longer issue menace 
or command. Silistria, Alma, Balaclava, Inkermann, all 
rose up to men s minds, and they thought of the bitter 
lessons which each of these must have read to the imperious 
Csesar of the North, and how they must have helped to 
break down his iron frame. More bitter than all, however, 
must have been the defeat of his legions at Eupatoria on the 
18th of February by the Turks, whom he despised. The 
details of this attack, in which upwards of 40,000 Kussians, 
under General Liprandi, were engaged, and which was beaten 
back by a much smaller force under Omar Pasha, supported 
with great effect by the fire of several ships of war from the 
Allied fleets, reached the Czar on the 1st of March. Soon 
after he became slightly delirious, and fatal symptoms set in. 
His thoughts to the last were with his soldiers at Sebastopol, 
to whom he sent his thanks for their heroic defence. But his 
supreme anxiety was to secure the continuance of Prussia in 
the policy of which the Western Powers had already had so 
much reason to complain ; and his last injunctions to the 
Empress were, Tell my dear Fritz (the King of Prussia) to 
continue the friend of Eussia, and faithful to the last words 
of Papa 10 (les dernieres paroles de Papa). 

The prospects of peace were thought by some to be brought 
nearer by this event ; but only by those who had not learned, 

9 Which, in the case of the Queen, was mixed with regret, as she entertained 
a sincere regard fur the Emperor Nicholas personally. NOTE BY THE QUEEN. 

10 These last words were an injunction to maintain, under all contingencies, 
the principles of the Holy Alliance. (Despatch by Lord Bloomfield from 
Berlin to Lord Clarendon, 6th March, 1855.) 



from history or the study of mankind, how little the death 
of any individual can influence a question of war or peace, 
when the pride and policy of a nation are at issue. The 
manifesto published by the present Emperor on the day of 
his accession (2nd March) was sufficient to show, that with 
the crown he inherited the policy of his father. May we, 
it bore, under the guidance and protection of Providence, 
consolidate Russia in the highest degree of power and glory ; 
that through us may be accomplished the views and desires 
of our illustrious predecessors, Peter, Catherine, Alexander 
the well-beloved, and of our august father of imperishable 
memory! Power and glory, in the connection in which 
they were here presented, could only be read to mean military 
supremacy, applied in conquest of other lands, not that 
highest degree of power and glory which would have been 
won by developing the resources, and enlarging the freedom 
and happiness of an Empire already vast enough for any 
healthy ambition. A few days later (10th March) Count 
Nesselrode, in a Despatch addressed to the Russian diplomatic 
agents abroad, stated that his Sovereign would join the 
deliberations of the Vienna Conference in a sincere spirit of 
concord. But this document was studiously silent as to the 
limitation of the power of Russia in the Black Sea, which 
formed one of the celebrated Four Points ; and, as it was 
well known, that the late Emperor had to the last declared 
he would neither consent to the dismantling of Sebas- 
topol, nor to the restriction of his navy in the Euxine, 11 and 
there was no reason to believe that any change of view had 
taken place at St. Petersburg, while the Allies on the other 
hand were determined to insist on both conditions, the 
spirit of concord, of which Count Xesselrode spoke, could 
avail little towards a peaceful settlement. 

11 This was communicated by Lord Eloomfield to Lord Clarendon in a De 
spatch, dated 28th February, 1855. 


By this time large numbers of the troops who had been 
disabled by wounds or sickness had returned to this country. 
The Queen and Prince took the earliest opportunity of 
ascertaining by personal observation in what condition they 
were, and how they were cared for. On the 3rd of March 
they went with the two eldest Princes to the Military Hos 
pitals at Chatham, where a large number of the wounded 
from the Crimea had recently arrived. This visit led to the 
following letter to Lord Panmure by the Queen : 

1 Buckingham Palace, 5th March, 1855. 

The Queen is very anxious to bring before Lord Pan- 
mure the subject which she mentioned to him the other 
night, viz. hospitals for our sick and wounded soldiers. 
These are absolutely necessary, and now is the moment to 
have them built, for no doubt there would be no difficulty in 
obtaining the money requisite for the purpose, so strong is 
the feeling now existing in the public mind for improvement 
of all kinds connected with the army, and the well-being 
and comfort of the soldier. 

Nothing can exceed the attention paid to these poor 
men in the barracks at Chatham, or rather Fort Pitt and 
Brompton, and they are in that respect very comfortable 
but the buildings are bad the wards more like prisons than 
hospitals, with the windows so high that no one can look out 
of them, and the most of the wards are small, with hardly 
space to walk between the beds. There is no dining-room or 
hall, so that the poor men must have their dinners in the same 
room in which they sleep, and in which some may be dying, 
and at any rate suffering, while others are at their meals. 

c The proposition to have hulks prepared for their recep 
tion will do very well at first, but it would not, the Queen 
thinks, do for any length of time. A hulk is a very gloomy 
place, and these poor men require their spirits to be cheered 

o 2 


as much as to have their physical sufferings attended to. 
The Queen is particularly anxious on this subject, which is, 
she may truly say, constantly in her thoughts, as indeed is 
everything connected with her beloved troops, who have 
fought so bravely, and borne so heroically all their sufferings 
and privations. The Queen hopes before long to visit the hos 
pitals at Portsmouth also, and to see in what state they are. 

Lord Panmure replied the same day, expressing his con 
currence in Her Majesty s views as to the necessity of one or 
more general hospitals for the army, and stating that he 
would desire an immediate survey to be made for a proper 
site or sites, which shall combine all considerations for the 
health of the patients, and the facility of access to the 
invalids. The idea mooted by Her Majesty was not allowed 
to drop, and it was subsequently carried out in the great 
Military Hospital at Netley. 

Amid the difficulties, already sufficiently numerous, with 
which the Government had to deal in the management of 
the war, a sudden resolution of the . Emperor Napoleon to 
repair in person to the Crimea, and to undertake the conduct 
of the campaign, added a fresh source of disquietude. This 
determination was announced in a letter which he addressed 
on the 26th of February to Lord Palmerston, in which it was 
put forward as the only way to bring to a rapid conclusion an 
expedition which otherwise must result in disaster to England 
as well as France. The disadvantage of a divided command 
and the consequent want of unity of counsel were put forward 
as the reason which had decided the Emperor, without in 
any way presuming to place his military skill on a level with 
that of either Lord Raglan or General Canrobert, to secure 
by his personal presence the unity of view and action which 
was indispensable to success. 

SebastopoJ, the Emperor continued, could not, as matters 

1855 TO GO TO THE CRIMEA. 229 

stood, be taken except at an immense sacrifice of life. The 
army defending it, reinforced from time to time as it was 
from without, was in a position of immense advantage. The 
army from which it drew its reinforcements, on the contrary, 
was badly placed for meeting any vigorous attack on the 
part of the Allies. Let them succeed in that attack, and 
Sebastopol must fall into their hands upon comparatively 
easy terms. For this purpose two things were necessary : 
first, a plan of action conceived in secret, and executed 
promptly, next certain reinforcements in men, with an 
adequate transport service of horses and mules. He was 
prepared to find the additional men, if England on her part 
would find the vessels to carry what was wanted in the way 
of horses and mules to the Crimea. Leaving a sufficient 
force at Sebastopol for the purposes of the siege, he expected 
to be able to take into the field 62,000 French, and the 
15,000 Piedmontese, who under a Convention concluded in 
the previous January with the King of Sardinia, were then 
upon their way to support the Allies in the Crimea. 12 With 
these forces at our disposal, all the chances will be on our 
side, for the Russians have only 30,000 men at Sebastopol, and 
45,000 echeloned between it and Simferopol, and very pro 
bably they will not receive much in the way of reinforcements 
before the 1st of April. Strike quickly, and Sebastopol 
will be ours before the 1st of May. 

You will tell me, perhaps, the letter continued* that I 
might entrust some general with this mission, Now, not only 

12 On the 26th of January, 1855, the King of Sardinia acceded to the Con 
vention between the French and English Governments of the 10th of April, 
185-i, and agreed to furnish and to maintain at fxill for the requirements of the 
war 15,000 men, under the command of a Sardinian general. By a separate 
article England and France agreed to guarantee the integrity of the King s 
dominions. England undertook the charges of transporting the troops to and 
from the Crimea, and under the Treaty a recommendation was to be made 
to Parliament to advance a million sterling to the King of Sardinia at 
4 per cent. 


would such a general not have the same moral influence, but 
time would be wasted as it always has been in memorandums 
between Canrobert and Lord Raglan, between Lord Raglan 
and Omar Pasha. The propitious moment would be lost, the 
favourable chances let slip, and we should find ourselves with 
a besieging army unable to take the city, and with an active army 
not strong enough to beat the army opposed to it. 

It was obviously impossible for our Government to look 
with favour upon a proposal, to which the objections were so 
numerous and so serious, and which they had reason to know 
was disapproved by the Emperor s own advisers, military as 
well as civil. But to induce him to forego a project which 
he had worked out in detail, and to which he was strongly 
wedded, was a task of extreme delicacy. The one satisfactory 
feature in the Emperor s letter was the evidence it afforded of 
his firm attachment to the English alliance, and unwavering 
resolution to stand by us in seeing the war to its end ; I3 and 
these, no less than his respect for the opinions of the Queen 
and her advisers, might be relied on to make him pause in his 
decision, when he found they could not go heartily along 
with him in it. Instead, therefore, of discussing it through 
the usual official channels, it was thought best, as the 
Emperor was to be at the camp at Boulogne early in March, 
that Lord Clarendon should visit him there, and go personally 
into the whole question. The Emperor was gratified by the 
implied courtesy thus shown to him ; and the subject was 
talked over with the frankness and unreserve which he 
appears to have shown towards England throughout all 
the transactions of the war. The Prince preserved a re 
cord of what passed, as reported to the Queen and himself 
"by Lord Clarendon, in the following interesting Memo 
randum : 

13 What he thought of our soldiers a few words in his letter will serve to 
show : Les vingt ndlle Anglais campes dcvant Sevastopol comptent par leur 
bravoure comme cinqiiante mille homines aux ycux de I armeefrangaise 


Buckingham Palace, 6th March, 1855. 

4 We saw Lord Clarendon yesterday afternoon, who had 
returned early that morning from Boulogne, and who re 
ported his interviews with the Emperor. 

He saw Colonel Fleury upon his arrival (the Emperor s 
most confidential officer, and whose existence is entirely 
bound up with him). 

Fleury was anxious that Lord Clarendon should be ac 
quainted with the fact (before he saw the Emperor), that 
the Emperor was entirely mistaken in the belief that his 
going to Sebastopol was popular with the army generally, or 
that he would even be well received by the troops in the 
Crimea. They adhered to him as Emperor, but did not like 
to be commanded by any one but a professional man, and 
they looked upon him as a civilian. The Emperor s plans 
might be ever so good, they would not carry with them the 
confidence of the army. Colonel Fleury had not formed 
this opinion hastily, but from an intimate knowledge of the 
feelings of officers of all ranks, acquired by daily intercourse 
with them, and Lord Clarendon afterwards found it amply 
corroborated by the language held by the Emperor s own 
aides-de-camp, and the officers who came in from the camp, 
in presence of his secretary, Mr. Ponsonby. 

Lord Clarendon was received with the greatest cordiality 
by the Emperor, who was evidently much pleased with his 
visit. He seemed very much struck with the news of the 
death of the Emperor of Russia, and speculated on its effects 
on the political juncture. He believed that it would incline 
both Austria and Prussia to a more vigorous policy, and that 
the new Emperor would find it more easy to make peace than 
his father. Lord Clarendon had to announce his dissent from 
both these views. The new Emperor would find it most 
difficult to control the feelings of the Russian party, and . . . 


would not venture upon a policy which that party condemned. 
The King of Prussia, on the other hand, would be moved by 
some last dying words which the Emperor Nicholas may have 
been made to pronounce, and would then declare that the 
policy which had been hitherto his choice became now his 
sacred duty towards his deceased brother-in-law. (Lord 
Clarendon was amused and impressed at hearing from us that 
those words had already been spoken. . . .) 

6 The Emperor proceeded to explain his plan of campaign, 
and repeated the argument that he had used in his letter to 
Lord Palmerston, and wished to know whether the English 
Government could furnish the transport necessary. Lord 
Clarendon replied that every one concurred in the sagacity 
of the plan he suggested, but that it was a grave question 
whether the means for its execution existed. 

He then entered into a calculation of time, means of 
transport, troops, c., which would be requisite, more in the 
style, as he said himself, of a contractor before a commercial 
company than of a Minister, showing that the means of 
transport in England were not inexhaustible ; that we had now 
102 large steamers employed in the Black Sea, which were 
hardly sufficient to satisfy all existing claims upon them ; 
that a large ship like the Himalaya, the largest steamer in 
the world (3,000 tons), could carry only 320 horses, and that 
a trip from Sebastopol to Marseilles, with loading and un 
loading, coaling, &c., would take more than a month ; that 
the utmost which could be accomplished was to carry out 
10,000 men, additional French troops, besides the Sardinian 
army, in from six to eight weeks from the time of the order 
being given. What would be the Emperor s position if he 
went now to the Crimea? Probably condemned to inactivity 
for more than a month, and complaining of the slowness of 
the English Government, which was to carry his army for 
him. He thought the Emperor should not move till every- 


thing was ready, in order to give merely the dernier coup de 
main. " C cst le mot" said the Emperor; " le dernier 
coup de main" Lord Clarendon went on to show that, even 
if everything was ready, an absence of four months would be 
the least which would suffice to carry out even the most suc 
cessful campaign, for the Emperor could not go away in the 
midst of it ; if it failed, he would have to remain till the day 
of judgment, and France should have poured out her last man 
to retrieve his defeat. The Emperor seemed much struck 
with all these considerations, which had very probably never 
been so frankly laid before him, and said he could not pos 
sibly be absent four months from France that he must be 
at Paris by the beginning of May. 

6 Lord Clarendon then took an opportunity to state to the 
Emperor most fully what I had been so anxious that he 
should convey to him, viz. the danger threatening the Alliance 
from a want of consideration for the feelings of the British 
army. His taking the supreme command would certainly 
not be popular either in England or in the English camp, 
but would be agreed to as not an unnatural consequence o 
the Emperor s presence on the spot. But if it were intended 
that the English should act merely as the carriers, or, at the 
utmost, be considered as n t to go on rotting in the trenches, 
whilst the honour and glory of the new campaign should fall 
solely to the lot of the French, a feeling would be roused with 
which the alliance would not remain compatible for a day. 
The alliance rested on the reciprocal feeling of the usefulness 
of each party to the other, and whenever that belief was lost 
the alliance could not survive it. Lord Clarendon used the 
same example for the illustration of this truth which I had 
used to him, namely that of the Turks, who had been praised 
to the skies ; in whose defence we had engaged in the war ; 
whose assistance in the Crimea had been anxiously called for ; 
but who, from the moment that 200 of them, placed in a 


most unfair and exposed situation in the redoubts before 
Balaclava, had fled, were treated, not only with the utmost 
contumely, but with downright barbarity and cruelty on the 
part of the English and French. It was rather an extreme 
case, but proved that all consideration vanished when the 
belief in usefulness was lost. 

This seemed to be an entirely new view to the Emperor. 
He protested that he hoped nobody thought him capable of 
entertaining such intentions towards the English army. 
Should he go, he intended to submit his plans to Lord Rag 
lan, whose experience and knowledge would be of the greatest 
use to him .... and if Lord Raglan agreed in the sound 
ness of the plan of campaign, which he did not doubt, he 
would leave it entirely to him to take in it what part he 
pleased either to share in the operations which he contem 
plated in the field with the whole or part of his force or to 
remain in command of the investing army, &c. He thought 
it of the highest importance, however, that wherever the 
field of glory lay, the two flags should be seen waving to 

Lord Clarendon s remark had made so strong an impres 
sion upon him, that he repeated next morning his thanks to 
him for having drawn his attention to it, and begged him to 
tell the Queen that, should he go, the honour of the British 
flag would be his first consideration, even beyond that of his 
own. . . . 

The Emperor was very anxious that a plan of campaign 
for the Baltic should be agreed upon. This was of less im 
portance to him, who would join his ships to ours in whatever 
might be done ; but it was of the greatest importance to us, 
whose prestige as masters of the sea, he considered, had been 
terribly shaken by the nullity of our proceedings in the 
Baltic last year. Nobody dreaded us any more, and this was 
a misfortune over which he sincerely grieved. 


The object of Lord Clarendon s visit was fully achieved. 
His reasons had induced the Emperor to postpone for the 
moment his projected visit to the seat of war ; and although 
the idea was not given up by himself until some time after 
wards, its ultimate abandonment was felt to have been vir 
tually secured. 



MEANWHILE the Emperor s desire to go to the Crimea, having 
become known in Paris, had created the greatest uneasi 
ness there. All felt that his presence with the army coidd 
do no good ; while, on the other hand, his absence from France 
would be full of peril to his government at home. To his 
English allies this was a matter of serious moment. He was 
himself the soul of the war party in France ; and had any 
evil befallen his person or his dynasty, we should have pro 
bably found ourselves compelled to fight out single-handed 
the conflict in which we were engaged. The mere appre 
hension of mischief from his plan had served to make 
the French more indifferent than ever to a war which they 
had never heartily liked, and consequently more inclined to a 
peace on almost any terms. It was, therefore, not without 
satisfaction that our Government learned through Lord 
Cowley, about a fortnight after Lord Clarendon s visit to 
Boulogne, that the Emperor had requested him to inquire 
whether a visit from the Empress and himself immediately 
after Easter would be acceptable to the Queen. A fuller, 
opportunity would then be given to urge the objections 
entertained here to the Crimean project. It was known 
that the Emperor s reason for suggesting a visit to England 
on so short a notice was that he was resolved not to postpone 
his departure for the East beyond the end of April. Still 
every day s delay increased the chances of his being led to 
reconsider his decision. 


During his visit to the Emperor at Boulogne the Prince 
Consort had, as we have seen (ante, p. 106), expressed Her 
Majesty s desire to see the Emperor and Empress in England. 
A little more time to make the needful arrangements for 
receiving the Imperial guests with befitting state would have 
been not unwelcome. Royal hosts, who have to represent 
the hospitality and the dignity of a nation, are naturally 
even more sensitive than the heads of humbler households 
about being taken at a disadvantage. But when the Em 
peror subsequently named the 16th of April for the day of 
his arrival, it required no great strain on the resources of the 
Eoyal establishment to prepare a reception worthy of the 
occasion. The splendid suite of apartments at Windsor Castle, 
in which the Rubens, the Zuccarelli, and the Vandyke 
rooms are included, was set apart for the Imperial guests ; 
and there was the very irony of fate in the fact, that the 
Emperor s bedroom was the same which had been occupied 
during the present reign by the Emperor Nicholas and by 
King Louis Philippe. On the 1 3th the Queen was visited 
by Queen Marie Amelie. 6 It made us both so sad, is the 
entry in Her Majesty s Diary, to see her drive away in a 
plain coach with miserable post-horses, and to think that 
tli is was the Queen of the French, and that six years ago her 
husband was surrounded by the same pomp and grandeur 
which three days hence would surround his successor. The 
contrast was painful in the extreme. 

The Imperial visitors were expected to reach Dover early 
on the morning of the 16th, and the Prince had gone down 
there the previous evening to receive them. But in 
consequence of a dense fog, in which two steamers of the 
French squadron ran aground near the South Foreland, it 
was noon before the Imperial yacht, which had herself 
narrowly escaped a similar disaster, reached the Admiralty 
Pier. A fleet of English war steamers had been assembled 


off the pert, and every preparation had been made to make 
the landing on the English shores as brilliant as possible. 
But the fleet was invisible, and the hosts of yachts and boats, 
which left the harbour to hail the approach of the Imperial 
squadron and were speedily lost in the mist, only added to 
the risk of casualties by crowding still farther the already 
over-crowded waterway. If something was lost in splendour 
of effect through the too national density of the atmosphere, 1 
it was amply compensated by the heartiness of the welcome, 
which was all the more hearty in consequence of the appre 
hensions which had been felt not, as it proved, without 
reason for the safety of the Imperial visitors in making the 
passage of the Channel. 

When they reached London, the spirit with which the 
British nation was determined to recognise the ally, who had 
hitherto stood so loyally by their side, was very strikingly 
manifested. The public had not been informed till the last 
moment by what route the Imperial cortege would proceed 
from the Bricklayers Arms Station to Paddington. There 
was, therefore, but a scanty display of the flags and in 
scriptions customary on such occasions. Bat all London 
turned out to testify its welcome, and everywhere the utmost 
enthusiasm prevailed. 

By the humbler inhabitants of the Borough and Lambeth the 
Emperor was received with even greater cordiality than by the 
wealthier classes of the community at the West End, yet nowhere 
was there a lack of hearty good feeling and interest. The win 
dows, the pavements, the balconies, the housetops, and every 
spot, in short, whence a commanding view could be obtained of 

1 The Times chronicler of the day reports thus : Prince Albert, who seems to 
take a peculiar pleasure in examining such works, inspected the (Admiralty) 
Pier at an early hour in the morning, and rather astonished the engineer and 
contractors by his familiarity with the details. There were probably no 
great public works in progress where the same thing would not have 


the procession, were all densely crowded. . . . The scene pre 
sented by the clubs in Pall Mall was particularly animated, and 
among those who gazed upon his progress from the well-known 
haunts of former days, His Majesty no doubt distinguished many 
old familiar faces. ... In passing King Street, the Emperor 
was observed to draw the attention of the Empress to the house 
which he had occupied in former days ; and in him at least the 
sight of this house under such altered circumstances must have 
raised some strange emotions. All along Piccadilly the same 
display of popular feeling greeted them, and so they passed 
through Hyde Park to the Paddington station, receiving at every 
stage of their progress the warmest manifestations of respect and 
welcome. (The Times, 17th April, 1855.) 

What, meanwhile, was the state of things at Windsor, 
which had arrayed itself in all the splendour of flags and 
triumphal arches for the occasion ? This will best be told 
by a few extracts from Her Majesty s Diary : 

News arrived that the Emperor had reached London at 
ten minutes to five. I hurried to be ready .... and went 
over to the other side of the Castle, where we waited in one 
of the tapestry rooms near the guard-room. It seemed very 
long. At length, at a quarter to seven, we heard that the 
train had left Paddington. The expectation and agitation 
grew more intense. The evening was fine and bright. At 
length the crowd of anxious spectators lining the road seemed 
to move, then came a groom, then we heard a gun, and we 
moved towards the staircase. Another groom came. Then 
we saw the avant-garde of the escort ; then the cheers of the 
crowd burst forth. The outriders appeared, the doors opened, 
I stepped out, the children and Princes close behind me ; the 
band struck up, " Pa-riant pour la Syrie" the trumpets 
sounded, and the open carriage, with the Emperor and 
Empress, Albert sitting opposite to them, drove up and they 
got out. 

I cannot say what indescribable emotions filled me how 


much all seemed like a wonderful dream. These great 
meetings of sovereigns, surrounded by very exciting accom 
paniments, are always very agitating. I advanced and 
embraced the Emperor, who received two salutes on either 
cheek from me, having first kissed my hand. I next em 
braced the very gentle, graceful, and evidently very nervous 
Empress. We presented the Princes [the Duke of Cambridge 
and the Prince of Leiningen, the Queen s brother], and our 
children (Vicky with very alarmed eyes making very low 
curtsies) ; the Emperor embraced Bertie ; and then we went 
upstairs, Albert leading the Empress, who, in the most 
engaging manner, refused to go first, but at length with 
graceful reluctance did so, the Emperor leading me, express 
ing his great gratification at being here and seeing me, 
and admiring Windsor. When the Throne Room was 
reached, other presentations took place, and the Emperor 
and Empress were then conducted to their apartments by 
their Royal hosts. 

At dinner the same evening the charm of the Emperor s 
manner seems to have quickly produced the effect of placing 
Her Majesty entirely at ease with him. He is, the Diary 
continues, so very quiet : his voice is low and soft, and " il 
ne fait pas des phrases." The Emperor said that he first 
saw me eighteen years ago, when I went for the first time to 
prorogue Parliament, and that it made a very deep impres 
sion upon him, to see "une jeunepersonne" in that position. 
He also mentioned his having been a special constable on 
the 10th of April, 1848, and wondered whether I had known 
it. The war, and the news, which arrived just as he did, 2 

2 The besieging batteries opened fire on the 10th of April. The telegram 
to the Emperor announcing this fact, -which awaited him at Dover, was givm 
by him to the Prince, and has been preserved among his papers, with the fol 
lowing endorsement by himself: Telegraphic message to the Emperor of the 
French, which reached him on arriving at Dover, and which he gave to 
me. A. 


of the opening of the fire from 400 guns, were a subject of 
conversation also. He is very anxious about the siege, and 
said, "favoue que je crains un grand desastre, et c est 
pour cela que je voudrais y aller" as he thought " que nos 
generaux " would take nothing upon themselves. I then 
observed upon the danger to which he might be exposed, 
how great the distance was, &c. He rejoined, that there 
were dangers everywhere, though he admitted the distance 
was very great. 

Next day confirmed the Queen s impression, that the 
Emperor was very quiet and amiable, and easy to get on 
with. . . . Nothing can be more civil or amiable, or more 
well-bred than the Emperor s manner so full of tact. A 
long walk after breakfast, in the course of which the war and 
its prospects and our relations with Austria formed the chief 
topic of conversation, 3 afforded good opportunities for draw 
ing conclusions on this subject. It was most interesting 
to hear him and Albert discuss all these matters. The 
Empress was as eager as himself, that he should go to the 
Crimea. . . . She takes the warmest interest in the war, and 
is all for the Emperor s going. She sees no greater danger 
for him there than elsewhere in fact, than in Paris. . . . 
She said she was seldom alarmed for him, except when he 
went out quite alone of a morning. . . . She is full of 
courage and spirit, and yet so gentle, with such innocence 
and enjouement, that the ensemble is most charming. With 
all her great liveliness, she has the prettiest and most modest 
manner. She spoke much of Spain, and with sorrow of the 
misfortunes of that country. . . . At luncheon the Ein- 

3 On the way up from Frogmore to the Castle, the Emperor admired the 
grass, and said (as all foreigners do) that you could never get that on the 
Continent. He tried, however, to get it, in the Bois de Boulogne, and not 
altogether without success. It was one of our many English institutions 
which he would fain have seen naturalised in France. 



peror asked the Queen where Queen Marie Amelie was, and 
on my replying, in England, he said that last year he wrote 
to Uncle Leopold, that if the voyage back from Spain was too 
long for her, he hoped that she would come through France, 
" et si votre Majeste veut bien le lui repeter, fen serai bien 

At four we all set off for the review [of the Household 
troops in Windsor Park], which was a most beautiful and 
excitiog affair. ... In the first carriage were the Empress 
(whom I always made get in and walk first), I, Bertie, 
Vicky, and dear little Arthur. Albert, the Emperor, George 
[Duke of Cambridge], and all the military gentlemen were 
on horseback. The crowd, in the Long Walk, of people on 
foot and on horseback was immense, and the excitement and 
cheering beyond description. 4 They squeezed round the 
Emperor, when we came to the gates, and rode across the 
grass to where the review was to be, in such a way that I 
grew very nervous,, as he rode on a very fiery beautiful 
chestnut, called Phillips, and was so exposed. He rides 
extremely well, and looks well on horseback, as he sits high. 
He rode down the line with Albert and George, we following. 
After that we were stationed to see the troops pass by, slow 
and quick time the Blues, 2nd Life Guards, Carabineers, 
and a troop of Horse Artillery, Lord Cardigan commanding 
on the chestnut horse he rode at Balaclava, and in a great 
state of excitement. They afterwards manosuvred, and the 
artillery was seen to great advantage. The Emperor (who 
rode up several times to our carriage) and the Princes rode 
about and charged with the cavalry, &c. The whole con 
cluded, as it began, with the Eoyal salute. We then 

4 The attendance of spectators was enormous, and their eagerness to catch 
a glimpse of the Emperor and Empress completely frustrated the attempts of 
the dftachment of the 94th Regiment to keep the ground. The Times, 18th 
of April. 


returned as we came, and the enthusiasm, the excitement of 
the crowd, were quite indescribable. I never remember any 
excitement like it. It was at moments almost alarming ; 
and there were numbers of terrified ladies standing on the 
road, clasping one another for fear of being ridden over. . . . 
The whole was again quite a triumph. 

The Conferences at Vienna, which began on the 15th of 
March, were by this time drawing to a close, with little 
prospect of a satisfactory conclusion. It had early become 
apparent that Eussia would assent to no practical plan for 
putting an end to her preponderance in the Black Sea, 
which formed the third of the Four Points (see note ante-) 
p. 162). So early as the 20th of March Prince Gortschakoff. 
the Eussian Plenipotentiary at Vienna, had told Lord John 
Eussell, that c Eussia would not consent to limit the number 
of her ships if she did so, she forfeited honour she would 
be no more Eussia. They did not want Turkey, they would 
be glad to maintain the Sultan; but they knew it was 
impossible : he must perish ; they were resolved not to let 
any other Power have Constantinople, they must not have 
that door to their dominions in the Black Sea shut against 
them. 5 There was small hope of agreement here ; still less, 
when on being formally invited by the other Powers to 
propose terms to carry out the limitation of her prepon 
derance in the Black Sea, which she had admitted as one of 
the conditions of peace, Eussia declined to do so. No weight 
could be attached to the profession with which Prince 
Gortschakoff accompanied this refusal, that Eussia was 
prepared to examine any measures which might be proposed 
to her not inconsistent with her honour ; as only one result 
could be anticipated, after the express declaration which her 
plenipotentiaries had made, that any restriction upon her 

5 Lord John Russell, in a private Despatch to Lord Clarendon, 20th March, 

B 2 


naval force in the Black Sea was derogatory to the sovereign 
rights of the Emperor their master, and, (which was not 
easy to understand,) dangerous to the independence of the 
Ottoman Empire. 6 

The Conferences had reached this stage, and it was ex 
pected that they would have now heen broken off, when 
tidings reached England by telegram on the 17th of April of a 
proposal, which was supposed to have emanated from Austria, 
to meet the difficulty by limiting the Eussian force in the 
Black Sea to the number of ships maintained before the war, 
under pain of war from the Allies. The objections to this 
proposition will be adverted to at a later stage. These struck 
the Prince from the first as insuperable, and the short entry 
in his Diary is, News from Vienna bad. Austria submits 
an absurd ultimatum. At dinner the same day, Her Majesty s 
Diary records : The Emperor gave me a telegraphic de 
spatch to read, which had come from Vienna, in which Austria 
consentirait a faire la guerre unless the Eussian fleet were 
to remain the same as before the war (incredible and im 
possible !), added to some other propositions, which were 
worth consideration. The Emperor, while condemning the 
absurd notion of " le chiffre de la flotte " remaining the same, 
considered that this was " un pas en avant," Austria having 

6 In a letter dated 26th of March, 1855, by Count Nesselrode to his son- 
in-law, Baron Seebach, the Saxon Minister at the Court of the Tuileries, 
which was written really a Vadrcsse of the Emperor of the French, and of 
which a copy was at once forwarded by him to the English Government, Count 
Nesselrode says, speaking of his master, Lempcreur, qudlcs que soientscs dis- 
positions pacifiques, j/ acccptera jamais des conditions semblables, et la nation 
se soumcttra a tous Ics sacrifices plutot que de les subir. This was one of two 
letters, which will be found referred to in a passage of the Queen s Diary to 
be presently quoted in the text, in which the most flattering language towards 
France and the Emperor was used. Entre la France et la Eussie il y a guerre 
tans hostilite? La paix se fera quand il (the Emperor of the French) la 
voudra. A mes yeuxla situation se resume dans cette verite. These are but a 
wimple of the somewhat too palpable flattery of the Emperor s self-esteem 
with what object it was not hard to divine, which coloured these letters 


spoken of going to war. I spoke to him of certain flattering 
letters from Count Nesselrode to Baron Seebach, which he 
had communicated to us a week or ten days ago, and observed 
on the desire and hope there had been and still was on the 
Continent, that our alliance could be broken. He said that 
the Russians at Paris had tried, and with some success, to 
make their party in France, and a good many other people 
also, believe that the Eastern Question " ne regardait que 
rAngleterre, et que cela ne regardait pas la France. C etait 
bien habile cVeux, et une grande difficult^ pour moi." 

A ball in the Waterloo Room wound up the evening. The 
Queen danced a quadrille with the Emperor, f who dances with 
great dignity and spirit. . . . How strange, Her Majesty adds, 
to think that I, the granddaughter of George III., should 
dance with the Emperor Napoleon, nephew of England s great 
enemy, now my nearest and most intimate ally, in the Waterloo 
Room, and this ally only six years ago living in this country, 
an exile, poor and unthought of ! Strange indeed ! and none 
could have been so deeply impressed by the contrast as the 
Emperor himself, when he looked round at the portraits, with 
which the room is panelled, of the great statesmen and 
soldiers, the struggle and glory of whose lives it had been to 
hold his famous ancestor in check. We went to supper, 
the Diary continues, the Emperor leading me, and Albert 
the Empress. Her manner is the most perfect thing I have 
ever seen so gentle and graceful, and kind, the courtesy so 
charming, and so modest and retiring withal. 

Next morning at breakfast the Emperor received a telegram 
announcing the death of M. Ducos, his Minister of Marine, 
and in a walk with the Queen he remarked how extraordinary it 
was that he should have to name his successor, Admiral 
Hamelin, from Windsor. At eleven a Council of War met 
in the Emperor s apartments, at which the Prince, Lords 
Palmerston, Panmure, Hardinge, and Cowley, Sir Charles 


Wood, Sir John Burgoyne, Count Walewski, and Marshal 
Vaillant were present. The task of drawing up a protocol of 
this conference seems by general consent to have been de 
volved upon the Prince, and it now lies before us in his 
own hand, with a few pencil marks of approval upon it by 
Marshal Vaillant. During the discussion, it appears by 
the Prince s statement, the necessity of making a vigorous 
diversion was strongly insisted upon by the Emperor, who 
had thought much upon the subject, and still combines with 
the plan the wish to carry it out himself. All present de 
clared themselves unanimously against the Emperor s scheme 
of going himself to the Crimea, but without obtaining from 
him the admission that he was shaken in his resolution to 
do so. After many hours the meeting broke up without 
coming to any definite conclusion. 

4 In a subsequent walk I took with the Emperor, says the 
Prince s Memorandum, I expressed my deep regret at the 
insufficiency of the decisions come to in the morning, which 
after all left everything vague, afforded the commanders no 
precise data to go upon and adhere to, and left out the con 
sideration of who was to command, and how the corps were 
to be composed, on which success would absolutely depend. 
I lamented that this, perhaps last, opportunity of coming to 
a thorough agreement between the Governments should be 
lost. The Emperor agreed fully in this, and explained to 
me further his plan of operations, which he hoped to execute 
himself. This conversation led to the Prince striking out a 


definite plan of operations, different from any of those which 
had been suggested, which he put in form in a Memoran 
dum, and showed to the Emperor in the evening, who ex 
pressed his entire approbation of it. The Memorandum was 
then sent to Lord Palmerston, and after being canvassed by 
him in conference with Lords Panmure and Hardinge, and 
Sir John Burgoyne, the latter was instructed to put upon 

1 85 5 O/ 7 EMPEROR NAPOLEON. 247 

paper the result of their united deliberations, previous to a 
further Council of War, which had been arranged for 
the 20th. 

From Her Majesty s Diary we extract some homely inci 
dents in connection with the Council of the 18th. It had 
met at eleven. Two o clock, the hour of luncheon, arrived, 
and found it still sitting, although informed that the Queen 
and Empress were waiting. After waiting a little while, the 
Empress went and told Lord Cowley how late it was. There 
was to be a Chapter of the Order of the Grarter at four, and 
important preparations of the royal toilettes, with a view to 
this august ceremonial, were indispensable. Still no one ap 
peared. After a little while the Empress advised me to go to 
them "Je n ose entrer, mais votre Majeste lepeut ; cela vous 
regarded So I went through the Emperor s room (the council- 
room adjoined his bedroom), and knocked, and at last stepped 
in, and asked what we should do. The Emperor and Albert got 
up, and said they would come. However, they did not ; so 
after a little further waiting the Queen and Empress, with 
their ladies, had to lunch alone. 

At four o clock the Emperor was invested by the Queen 
with the Order of the Grarter in the Throne Koom. After 
the ceremony, as we were going along to the Emperor s 
apartments, he said, " Je remercie bien votre Majeste. C est 
un lien de plus; fed prete serment de fidelite a votre 
Majeste* et je le garderai soigneusement" He added a little 
later, " C est un grand evenement pour moi, et fespere 
pouvoir prouver ma reconnaissance a votre Majeste et a 
son pays" These words are valuable from a man like him, 
who is not profuse in phrases, and who is very steady 
of purpose. At dinner, among other topics, that of the 
French refugees in London came up. He said that when 
assassination was loudly and openly advocated, they should 
not enjoy hospitality. . . . We talked of the various at- 


tempts on myself, which he thought were too atrocious as 
against a woman. As for himself, he said he had the same 
opinion as his uncle, which was, that when there was a con 
spiracy that was known, and you could take your precautions, 
there was no danger ; but that, when a fanatic chose to attack 
you, and to sacrifice his own life, you could do little or 
nothing to prevent it. 7 

We talked of the Revolution in 1848, and the horrors in 
June. He said he had met Greorge [Duke of Cambridge] 
driving, and that George had said half-jokingly, "Eat-ce qu on 
se bat pour vous a Paris ? " He answered, " There was no 
question of him, et cependant deja on se battait pour moi 
alors ! " Speaking of the want of liberty attaching to our 
position, he said the Empress felt this greatly, and called the 
Tuileries une belle prison. He himself shared the feeling 
strongly: "J ai pleure de chaudes larmes en quittant 

After dinner, the same record continues, I had some 
conversation with Marechal Yaillant. 8 He is very much 
against the Emperor s going to the Crimea, and hoped I had 
spoken to him. I said, "J ai ose faire quelques observa 
tions" (t Mon Dieu, oser ! " he replied. " Quand on est 
ensemble, il faut parler nettement ; " that the danger was 
very great ; that the plan of the Emperor was a very good 
one ; and that, if any other general executed it and failed, it 
would not signify ; but the Emperor, the sovereign, that was 
a risk too serious to be run ; that even for us, though it could 

7 On the 29th of April, a few days after his return to Paris, while riding in 
the Champs Elysees, he was shot at by an Italian, Giacomo Pianori. The 
assassin, who was close to the Emperor, fired twice, but missed. Revenge for 
the French occupation of Rome was said to be Pianori s motive. The Ernperor 
showed no signs of disquietude, and rode on at a foot s pace to the Empress, 
who was driving in the Bois de Boulogne. 

8 Marechal Vaillant, Ministre de la Guerre. Tall and very large, quite 
in the style of Lablache, with small, fine features a charming, amusing, 
clever, and honest old man, who is an universal favourite. Queens Diary. 


not injure us in the way it might injure France, an echec 
would be very serious : " vous etes dans le meme bateau ; " 
and, lastly, he thought there was great danger to France in the 
Emperor s absence. He hoped, however, that the Council 
had had some effect on him. " Le Prince votre epoux a ete 
Men net" and had always brought people back to the point 
when they digressed. The Emperor told me, if it had not 
been for Albert, nothing would have been done. 

An orchestral concert closed the evening. In concluding 
her record of the day, the Queen says of the Emperor, His 
manners are particularly good, easy, quiet, and dignified as 
if he had been born a king s son, and brought up for the 

April .19. The Emperor had received an Address from the 
Corporation of London at Windsor Castle on the day after his 
arrival. The Empress and himself were now to partake of 
their hospitality in the City itself. The day, like all the 
days of his visit, was bright and fine. When left alone with 
the Queen and Prince after breakfast, the Emperor said, " Je 
vais maintenant, si votre Majeste le permet, lui lire ma 
reponse a VAdresse de la Cite" which he had already told 
me yesterday he would do, " afin de savoir, si vous aviez 
quelques observations a faire" He then read it to us in 
French, and we could only assent to everything in it, as it is 
an admirable speech ; 9 and as everything he says or writes is 

9 The speech was received throughout the country with general approval ; 
such passages as the following could not fail to tell, for they echoed the hearty 
wish of the kingdom, that France should bury all remembrance of past 
conflicts in a friendship based on mutual regard and the interlacing of 
reciprocal interests. Flattering as are your praises, I accept them, because 
they are addressed much more to France than to myself ; they are addressed 
to a nation, whose interests are to-day everywhere identical with your own ; 
they are addressed to an army and navy united to yours by an heroic com 
panionship in danger and in glory; they are addressed to the policy of the two 
Governments, which is based on truth, on moderation, and on justice. For 
myself. I have retained on the throne the same sentiments of sympathy and 


the result of mature reflection, and is always recurred to and 
remembered, it is of great importance. He then asked leave 
to read it in English (into which he had had it translated), 
requesting us to correct his pronunciation, which we did, 
though it required but little correction ; and he also asked 
our advice about one or two expressions. He did all this 
very naturally and frankly. 

At eleven o clock the Queen and Prince left Windsor Castle, 
with their Imperial guests, for London. I cannot say why, 
again to quote Her Majesty s Diary, but their departure 
made me melancholy. . . . Passing through the rooms, the 
hall, and down the staircase, with all its State guards, and 
the fine old yeomen ; the very melancholy tune (which 
" Partant pour la Syrie " is) ; the feeling that all, about 
which there had been so much excitement, trouble, anxiety, 
and expectation, was past ; the doubtfulness of the future- 
all made me, I know not why, quite " wehmilthig ; " and 1 
hear that the Empress was equally sad at going away from 
Windsor. 10 Speaking of the Empress, the Queen remarks 
the same day, Altogether I am delighted to see how much 
Albert likes and admires her, as it is so seldom I see him 
do so with any woman. 

From Buckingham Palace the Emperor and Empress pro 
ceeded alone in full state to Guildhall. The line of the pro 
cession was thronged with eager multitudes. While we were 
at luncheon, the Queen writes, we heard that they had 

esteem for the English people, that I professed as an exile, while I enjoyed 
here the hospitality of your Queen ; and if I have acted in accordance with 
my convictions, it is that the interest of the nation, which has chosen me, no 
less than that of universe! civilisation, has made it a duty. Indeed, England 
and France are naturally united on all the great questions of politics arid of 
human progress that agitate the world. 

10 The sadness might almost be said to be prophetic of the changed circum 
stances under which first the Empress, and sometime later the Emperor, after 
he left Wilhelmshohe, discrowned and bankrupt in fortune, were to see their 
Royal host, herself a widowed queen, again on the same spot. 


reached the City in safety a great relief, though I dreaded 
nothing. Albert was engaged the whole afternoon in writing 
a Memorandum on the Council of yesterday, and elucidating 
the intended plans. The Emperor and Empress returned to 
the Palace about six, charmed with the way they had been 
everywhere received. The Corporation had spared no pains 
to make their reception memorable ; ll and the Emperor s 
knowledge of the English enabled him to appreciate the 
cordiality shown by the crowds, that waited in the streets to 
greet their return, as they had greeted their going. 

In the evening a state visit was paid to Her Majesty s 
Theatre. The opera was Fidelio. Never, the Queen 
writes, did I see such enormous crowds at night, all in the 
highest good humour. We literally drove through a sea of 
human beings, cheering and pressing near the carriage. 
The streets were beautifully illuminated. There were many 
devices of N.E. V.A., which, the Emperor said, oddly enough 
made " Neva ! " This seemed to have impressed him, for he 
said that he had observed it before at Boulogne. On 
entering the theatre, here we quote from the Morning 
Post, the Queen, taking the Emperor by the hand, led him 
forward, and bowing to the people with a grace and frankness 
beyond expression, presented to them her Imperial guest, 
whilst Prince Albert led forward the beautiful Eugenie. The 
Queen had indeed taken care to indicate her own feeling, 
that the Emperor was the principal person on that occasion, 
and Her Majesty records that the applause for him was 
very marked. . . . The Emperor told me that after our 
marriage in 1840, when we went in state to Covent Garden, 
he had with great difficulty obtained a box, and afterwards 
they made him pay 40, for it, " que je trouvais pourtant 

11 The sherry served at the Imperial table during the dejeuner "was part of a 
Imtt supplied to the Emperor Napoleon I. at the enormous price of 600/. per 
butt. So, at least, the chroniclers of the day reported. 


beaucoup ! " On this night I hear one person gave 100. 
for a box. On his return to the Palace, the Emperor found 
fresh news of the progress of the bombardment awaiting 
him from Sebastopol, which, he hoped, sounded favourable ; 
but Albert was doubtful, and the Emperor said, " J ai bien 
peur que h Prince n ait raison." The Prince was right ; 
for the bombardment failed to silence the Eussian batteries, 
which were replaced as fast as they were disabled. 12 

The next day (20th April) was devoted to a visit to the 
Crystal Palace at Sydenham. It had been opened the 
previous year, and the interest and curiosity created by the 
novelty of the structure, the beauty of its site, and the variety 
and richness of its contents, were still fresh. The Emperor 
was at this time much occupied with the preparations for 
the first of the great Paris International Exhibitions. This 
remarkable building might therefore be assumed to have a 
special interest for him ; and it was besides not unfitly 
selected for a visit, as showing how private enterprise in 
England had accomplished, on a scale of more than Imperial 
splendour, what in any other country could only have been 
produced by Imperial means. 

We discovered, again to quote from Her Majesty s Diary, 
that this was his birthday his forty-seventh and though 
not feted, or taken notice of publicly, we felt we could not 
do otherwise than take private notice of it. Consequently, 
when we went along the corridor to meet him, I wished him 
joy. He seemed for a moment not to know to what I 
alluded, then smiled, and kissed my hand, and thanked me, 
and I gave him a pencil-case. . . . The Emperor was also 
very much pleased at (Prince) Arthur s giving him two 
violets the flower of the Bonapartes. 

12 On the 17th of April, in a private Despatch to Lord Panmure, LordKaglan 
wrote : I believe there was never such a siege as this before. The resources 
of Russia are endless. 


The day was magnificent. Immense crowds lined the 
roads, and the Queen notes the frequency of the cries of 
6 Vive VEmpereur (sometimes in the cockney form, 
Vive le Hemperor ) and Vive V ImperatriceJ which 
saluted them as they passed along. No strangers were 
admitted to the Palace until after the Royal party had 
completed their inspection of its contents. This over, they 
stepped out upon the balcony to look at the gardens, and 
were struck with admiration, as the splendid panorama of 
field and woodland, intermingled with villages and church 
spires that landscape so truly English in all its features 
stretching away in the clear air for about twenty miles, burst 
upon their view. Straightway from the terrace below, where 
upwards of twenty thousand people were assembled, rose cheer 
after cheer, with a volume and fervour, says The Times, 
which were quite overwhelming. The august personages, 
who were the objects of this demonstration, seemed greatly 
moved. Even the Emperor, impassive as he is in manner, 
was evidently excited, and the animated features of the 
Empress were lit up with an expression of astonishment and 

On returning to the Palace after luncheon the Royal 
visitors found it filled with people, who lined the avenue of 
the nave, and cheered them enthusiastically as they passed 
along towards the balcony, from which they were to see the 
fountains play, the upper series of which had just been 
completed and were now put in motion for the first time. 
Nothing, the Queen writes, ( could have succeeded better. 
Still I own I felt anxious, as we passed along through the mul 
titude of people, who, after all, were very close to us. I felt, as 
I walked on the Emperor s arm, that I was possibly a protec 
tion for him. All thoughts of nervousness for myself were past. 
I thought only of him ; and so it is, Albert says, when one 
forgets oneself, one loses this great and foolish nervousness. 


At six o clock the same evening a Council was held to 
settle the plan of future operations in the Crimea. Sir John 
Burgoyne had embodied his views in a Memorandum, and 
Lord Palmerston, in transmitting it to the Prince, had him 
self gone into the question at great length. The various 
views thus represented were discussed in detail, and again 
the Prince was charged with the duty of reducing the results 
to writing. We agreed, he mentions in a Memorandum 
next day, that it was unnecessary and loss of time to discuss 
further particular modes of operation, for which there might 
be as many plans as heads, and none worth much, if made at 
a distance from the scene of action ; chat the chief point to 
arrive at was the organisation of the armies which were to 
operate, " de se decider sur la valeur de la piece, avant de 
vouloir jouer la partie, et de rendre nos capitaux fluides" 
... I then drew up a kind of scheme of agreement in seven 
heads, ... to be signed on the part of both contracting 
parties. It was so signed next day by Lord Panmure and 
Marshal Vaillant. The Emperor, adds the Prince, has 
throughout acted with thorough good faith and good 

The presence of the Queen at this Council was of course 
indispensable. Besides the Emperor and the Prince, 
Marshal Vaillant, Lords Palmerston, Clarendon, and 
Panmure were also present. The occasion and the men 
were alike remarkable. 6 It was, says the Koyal Diary, one 
of the most interesting scenes I was ever present at. I 
would not have missed it for the world. 

Next day (21st April) was the day of departure. In the 
long and confidential interviews which had taken place 
between them, hosts and guests had been drawn so closely 
together, that the parting was that of friends, and therefore 
not unmixed with pain. The Empero r s last act was to 
inscribe his name in Her Majesty s Album. As he returned 


it to her, he said, J ai tdche cTecrire ce que je sens. The 
words were : Je porte a votre Majeste les sentiments qu on 
eprouve pour une reine et pour une sceur, devouement 
respectueux, tendre amitie. NAPOLEON. 

As we were going along to the door, the Emperor said, 
how much he had felt our kindness what a 607?, souvenir 
they would carry back, &c. " N est-ce pas, vous viendrez a 
Paris cet ete, si vouspouvez?" I replied : "Certainly, provided 
my public duties did not prevent me," which he understood. 
He said : " Je crois, que d* avoir passe mon jour de naissance 
avec votre Majeste me portera bonheur, et le petit crayon 
que vous m avez donne." 

Amid warm words of mutual regret, not wholly unmingled 
with tears, farewell was said. Away they drove, to quote 
once more the vivid record to which we already owe so much, 
the band playing " Partant pour la Syrie " (which we had 
heard fourteen times on Thursday), and we ran up to see them 
from the very saloon in which we had just been together. 
The Emperor and Empress saw us at the window, turned 
round, got up, and bowed (Albert and George in the carriage 
with them). We watched them with the glittering escort 
till they could be seen no more, and then returned to our 

Thus has this visit, this great event, passed like every 
thing else in this world. It is a dream, a brilliant, successful, 
pleasant dream, the recollection of which is firmly fixed in my 
mind. On all it has left a pleasant, satisfactory impression. 
It went off so well not a hitch or contretemps fine weather, 
everything smiling ; the nation enthusiastic, and happy in 
the firm and intimate alliance and union of two great coun 
tries, whose enmity would be fatal. We have war now 
certainly, but war which does not threaten our shores, our 
homes, and internal prosperity, which war with France ever 
must do. ... I am glad to have known this extraordinary 


man, whom it is certainly impossible not to like when you 
live with him, and not even to a considerable extent to admire. 
... I believe him to be capable of kindness, affection, 
friendship, and gratitude. I feel confidence in him as 
regards the future. I think he is frank, means well towards 
us, and as Stockmar (with whom I afterwards talked) says, 
" that we have ensured his sincerity and good faith towards 
us for the rest of his life." He (Stockmar) is delighted at 
the visit and our behaviour. 13 

Albert returned at five. . . . He felt just as I did much 
pleased with everything, liking the Emperor and Empress 
(the latter particularly), and being very much interested in 
them. . . . 

The Emperor wrote in Bertie s Autograph Book the 
following very pretty lines, which had been originally written 
for himself : 

Jiingling mit der reinen Seele, 
Mit der Unschnld freiem Gefiihle, 
Priif und wahle, 
Aber Lob sei nie dein Ziel ! 
Ob Dir Beifall jauchzt die Menge, 
Ob sie lasterfc, wanke nicht. 

13 In a Memorandum addressed to the Queen (dated 22nd April) by Baron 
Stockmar. who politically bore the Emperor no goodwill, the following passage 
occurs : Whatever his sins against morality have been till now, the reception 
he has met with in this country will, for his whole life, prevent him from 
sinning against England. The force of the sincerity, gentle kindness, and 
cordiality, with which he and his lady were treated whilst under the Queen s 
roof, can hardly have failed to make a deep and lasting impression on his 
mind. Acute as he is, he will compare the singleness and honesty of purpose 
he found here with what he experienced in this respect formerly and else 
where, and become convinced that his greatest political advantage will be 
derived from being steady and true in his alliance with England. The 
Baron expects, therefore, that the personal honesty of the Emperor to this 
country has been secured by this visit, and that the success of it is chiefly 
owing to the Queen and the Prince, whose conduct on the occasion has been 


Triiglich oft sind Preisgesange, 
Doch der Wahrheit Pfad ist enge, 
Zwischen Kliiften geht die Pflicht. u 

I am sure this is what he feels himself, and believes him 
self to have done, and to be doing. 

The immediate effect of the cordial reception given to the 
Emperor in this country was to increase his popularity at 
home. This was perceptible in the warmth with which he 
was greeted both in Boulogne and Paris on his way back 
from England. But, on his return, he found the difficulties 
of the political situation so gravely increased by the failure 
of the negotiations at Vienna, while the impossibility of 
leaving a Government behind, which either the country or 
himself could trust, was so apparent, and the alarm created 
by the rumour of his intention to go to the Crimea so general, 
that he came, though with extreme reluctance, to the conclu 
sion that it must be abandoned. This not unwelcome news 
was conveyed to the Queen in a letter which he addressed 
to Her Majesty on 25th of April, from which we translate the 
following passage : 

Though I have been three days in Paris, I am still with Your 
Majesty in thought ; and I feel it to be my first duty again to 
assure you, how deep is the impression left upon my mind by 
the reception, so full of grace and affectionate kindness, vouch 
safed to me by Your Majesty. Political interests first brought 
us into contact, but to-day, permitted as I have been to become 

14 Youth, of soul unstain d and pure, 

Innocent and fresh in feeling, 
Choose and ponder, but be sure, 

World s praise never sways thy dealing \ 
Though the crowd with plaudits hail thee, 
Though their calumnies assail thee, 
Swerve not : but remember, youth, 

Minstrel praises oft betray, 
Narrow is the path of Truth, 

Duty threads twixt chasms her way. 



personally known to Your Majesty, it is a living and respectful 
sympathy by which I am, and shall be henceforth, bound to 
Your Majesty. In truth, it is impossible to live for a few 
days as an inmate of your home without yielding to the charm 
inseparable from the spectacle of the grandeur and the happiness 
of the most united of families. Your Majesty has also touched 
me to the heart by the delicacy of the consideration shown to the 
Empress ; for nothing pleases more, than to see the person one 
loves become the object of such flattering attentions. 

In the same letter the Emperor dwells with the emphasis 
of gratitude on the frank friendship shown to him by the 
Prince, and on the high tone of mind and penetrating judg 
ment, by contact with which he had learned so much. 

Some days later (2nd of May), the Queen embodied in a 
Memorandum the results of the study of the Emperor s 
character, which the facilities of observation afforded by his 
visit had enabled her to make. From this we extract the 
following passages : 

The great advantage to be derived for the permanent 
alliance of England and France, which is of such vital im 
portance to both countries, from the Emperor s recent visit, 
I take to be this : that with his peculiar character and views, 
which are very personal, a kind, unaffected, and hearty re 
ception by us personally in our own family will make a 
lasting impression on his mind. He will see that he can 
rely upon our friendship and honesty towards him and his 
country, so long as he remains faithful towards us. Natu 
rally frank, he will see the advantage to be derived from 
continuing so ; and if he reflects upon the downfall of the 
former dynasty, he will see that it arose chiefly from a 
breach of pledges and ambiguous conduct towards this 
country and its Sovereign, and will be sure, if I be not very 
much mistaken in his character, to avoid such a course. 

It must likewise not be overlooked that this kindly 
feeling towards us, and consequently towards England (the 

i855 BY THE QUEEN. 259 

interests of which are inseparable from us), must be increased 
when it is remembered that we are almost the only people in 
his own position with whom he has been able to be on terms 
of intimacy, consequently almost the only ones to whom he 
could talk easily and unreservedly. ... It is, therefore, 
natural to believe that he will not willingly separate from 
those who, like us, do not scruple to put him in possession 
of the real facts, and whose conduct is guided by justice and 
honesty. . , . I would go still further : I think that it is in 
our power to keep him in the right course. . . . We should 
never lose the opportunity of checking in the bud any attempt 
on the part of his agents or ministers to play us false, frankly 
informing him of the facts, and encouraging him to bring 
forward in an equally frank manner whatever he has to 
complain of. This is the course which we have hitherto 
pursued, and, as he is France in his own sole person, it 
becomes of the utmost importance to encourage by every 
means in our power that very open intercourse which I must 
say has existed between him and Lord Cowley for the last 
year and a half, and now, since our personal intercourse, with 
ourselves. . . . 

In a letter said to have been written by the Emperor to 
Mr. F. Campbell, the translator of M. Thiers s History of 
the Consulate and Empire, when returning the proof-sheets 
of his translation in 1847, he says: Let us hope the day 
may yet come when I shall carry out the intentions of my 
uncle, by uniting the policy and interests of England and 
France in an indissoluble alliance. That hope cheers and 
encourages me. It forbids my repining at the altered 
fortunes of my family. If these be truly his words, he 
certainly has acted up to them since he has swayed with an 
iron hand the destinies of the French nation. 

9 2 



WHILE the Allied Sovereigns were settling, in concert with 
their constitutional advisers, the organisation of the forces 
to be employed in the prosecution of the war, the House of 
Commons was determining how England s share of the 
expense was to be provided. Mismanagement, always costly, 
is never more costly than in war, not merely in men s lives, 
a nation s best wealth, but through the necessity which 
it creates for retrieving omissions, and replacing losses in 
extreme haste and at any price. To continue Mr. Glad 
stone s plan of meeting the expenses of the war out of the 
annual revenue was now impossible. Although the estimated 
income for the year was close upon sixty-three millions and 
a half, the expenditure was calculated at nearly twenty-three 
millions in excess of this sum. On the 20th of April Sir 
George Cornewall Lewis, in introducing his Budget, explained 
that he proposed to meet the deficiency by raising sixteen 
millions on loan at three per cent., of which the whole had 
been taken at par by the Messrs. Eothschild and the Bank 
of England, five millions by means of an additional twopence 
in the pound on the Income Tax, and three millions by 
Exchequer Bills. Some of the details of his plan provoked 
discussion, but the resolutions for giving it effect were carried 
on the 23rd without difficulty. The nation was thoroughly 
in earnest, and, to achieve the objects of the war, it was 
prepared to find the necessary sinews without a murmur. 
By this time it was generally understood that the nego- 


tiations at Vienna had proved abortive, and that the prospects 
of peace were, in fact, more remote than ever. The 
Russian Government having on the 21st of April definitely 
rejected the proposals for neutralising the Black Sea, or for 
limiting their own naval force there, the Plenipotentiaries 
of England and France declared their powers exhausted, and 
announced their intention to return home. Lord John 
Russell left Vienna on the 23rd of April, and was imme 
diately followed by M. Drouyn de Lhuys. Austria, anxious 
to escape if possible from taking an active part in the war, 
which she now anticipated she would be called upon by the 
Western Powers to do under the Treaty concluded with them 
on the 2nd of December, 1854, devised a fresh series of terms 
for the consideration of Russia, to which reference has already 
been made in the preceding chapter. These terms in effect 
implied a surrender of all for which we had been contending, 
as they would have restored to Russia the predominance in 
the Black Sea, which we had again and again declared to be 
a standing menace to Turkey, and through her to the peace 
of Europe. The salient features of this new proposition, so 
far as they could be gathered by the Government from the 
information by telegraph which first reached them, were, 
that the Allies might each have two frigates in the Black 
Sea ; that, if the Russians increased their fleet there beyond 
its present number, the Allies might each maintain there one- 
half the number of the Russian ships of war ; that Russia 
should be asked by Austria not to increase her naval forces 
in the Black Sea beyond the number actually there in 1853, 
and, whether she accepted this -engagement or not, that 
Austria would sign a treaty making any increase beyond that 
number a casus belli. 

These terms were at once seen by our own Government, 
and also by the Emperor of the French, to be wholly unsatis 
factory. They therefore learned with some dismay that they 


had met with the personal approval of both the French and 
English Plenipotentiaries. In his despatches Lord John 
Russell had indicated his own concurrence, and the Emperor 
informed our Ambassador, that they were pressed upon his 
approval by M. Drouyn de Lhuys with extreme urgency. 
In replying to a letter from Lord Clarendon informing Her 
Majesty of these facts, the Queen wrote : 

Buckingham Palace, 25th April, 1855. 

The Queen has received Lord Clarendon s letter with 
extreme concern. How Lord John Eussell and M. Drouyn 
can recommend such proposals to our acceptance is beyond 
her comprehension. The Prince has summed up the present 
position of the question in a few sentences, which the Queen 
encloses, and which she thinks might be communicated to 
the Cabinet and perhaps the Emperor. 

The Prince s Memorandum was as follows : 

Buckingham Palace, 25th April, 1855. 

The point in the negotiations at which we have arrived, 
and upon which we have split, is the Third point of the 
conditions proposed by Austria and the belligerents, and 
accepted by Eussia. Its formula is, " de mettre fin a la 
preponderance de la Russie dans la Mer Noire" 

6 This presupposes that there existed a " preponderance " 
before the war which broke out in 1854. 

To limit the Russian naval power to that existing in 
1853 would therefore be simply u de perpetuer et legaliser 
la preponderance de la Russie dans la Mer Noire" a 
proposal which can neither be made nor accepted as a 
development of the Third Point. 

The proposal of Austria to engage to make war when 
the Russian armaments should appear to have become 
excessive is of no kind of value to the belligerents, who do, 


not wish to establish a case for which to make war hereafter , 
but to obtain a security upon which they can conclude peace 

In the views thus expressed, Lord Palmerston mentioned 
in writing next day to the Queen, the Cabinet concurred, 
holding that the Austrian proposal could not be more 
accurately described than in the concise terms of the 
Prince s Memorandum, namely, that, instead of making to 
cease the preponderance of Russia in the Black Sea, it would 
perpetuate and legalise that preponderance, and that, instead 
of establishing a secure and permanent peace, it would only 
establish a prospective case for war. The bait, which had 
apparently captivated M. Drouyn de Lhuys, of securing the 
co-operation of Austria, if Russia were to increase the numbers 
of her present Black Sea fleet, was regarded by the Cabinet 
as purely illusory. Would Austria, who shrank from conflict 
with Russia now, when the Russian army was crippled by 
heavy losses, was widely scattered, and its efficiency strained 
to the utmost, and when England and France were in the 
field against the Czar, be more ready or more likely to move 
against Russia hereafter, when she had recruited and con 
centrated her strength, and when the Allied forces were back 
in their home stations, and reduced to the level of peace 
establishments? What reason, moreover, is there, Lord 
Palmerston added, ( for supposing that Austria, who has 
recently declared that, though prepared for war, she will not 
make war for ten sail of the line more or less in the Russian 
Black Sea fleet, will some few years hence, when unprepared 
for war, draw the sword on account of the addition of one 
ship of war to that fleet? Such proposals are really a 
mockery. And, indeed, they savoured more of the astute 
ness of Russian diplomacy than of the friendly suggestions of 
a nominal ally. 


The more they were examined the more distasteful did 
they appear, and. they were not made more palatable by the 
personal arguments either of M. Drouyn de Lhuys or of Lord 
John Russell on their return to their posts. After some 
slight hesitation, due to imperfect information as to the real 
scope of the proposal, the Emperor ended with being entirely 
at one with the English Cabinet, and on the 5th of May his 
final decision not to entertain it was communicated by Count 
Walewski to Lord Clarendon. M. Drouyn de Lhuys was too 
far committed to remain in office after this decision ; and the 
next day Lord Clarendon was informed that Count Walewski 
was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, and was to be 
succeeded as Ambassador in London by M. Persigny. As Lord 
John Russell had taken the same view at Vienna as M. 
Drouyn de Lhuys, his first conclusion was that that states 
man s resignation involved his own. 

There seems little room for doubt that it would have been 
better had he acted upon his first impression. The fact of 
the identity of their opinions was sure, sooner or later, to 
become known, and it was neither for the advantage of the 
Grovernment, nor of his own reputation, that he should 
retain a prominent place in their councils, when he had 
urged terms of peace upon their acceptance, which they, on 
the other hand, were agreed in thinking would be ignominious 
to England, and a triumph to Russia before all Europe. His 
resignation, with the explanations which it must have entailed, 
would no doubt have been embarrassing to the Ministry. But 
better this, than that the facts should have been dragged to 
light by their adversaries, as they subsequently were, with 
all the damaging commentaries to which the disclosure 
exposed both the Government and its Plenipotentiary. 

That M. Drouyn de Lhuys should have fallen so readily 
into the Austrian proposals was not surprising. His master, 
indeed, was sincere in allying himself with Great Britain for 

i855 M. DROUYN DE LHUYS. 265 

the purposes which both countries professed, and of which 
M. Drouyn de Lhuys had himself been the eloquent exponent. 
But our Government had for some time divined, from much 
that came within their observation, that the French Minister 
had no cordial love for the English alliance ; and would, 
indeed, have been better pleased to cement an alliance with 
Prussia, Austria, and Grermany, which should keep England 
under control, than to see a permanent friendship established 
between this country and France. To break up the Con 
tinental alliance, was from his point of view of vital moment, 
and to detach Austria from Eussia a step of the first impor 
tance. This, with the defeats which Eussia had already 
sustained, would have satisfied the grudge M. Drouyn de 
Lhuys owed that country for the advantages she had gained 
in the question of the Holy places, and for the refusal of 
the Czar to acknowledge the French Emperor as his brother, 
while it would have met his ideas of the extent of the French 
interest in the European question. If England suffered by 
having to conclude an unsatisfactory peace, so much the 
better in the view of one who thought her already too strong. 
But better still would have been the dissolution of the 
Continental league, which had for so long a series of years 
held France in check. If, therefore, M. Drouyn de Lhuys 
believed that Austria was prepared to take the field against 
Eussia, if her new proposals for peace were rejected, his assent 
to them is intelligible. It does not, however, appear that a 
pledge to this effect was ever formally given. More probably 
Austria knew, that Eussia would have accepted the conditions 
suggested,^ and in his eagerness to push his own favourite 
policy M. Drouyn de Lhuys allowed himself to entertain 
proposals, by which, in truth, it would not substantially have 
been advanced. For, if Eussia had accepted Austria s terms, 
as she might well have done, that country would have been 
drawn more closely into alliance with her, at least for the 


time. Prussia, through her Sovereign, was already in Eussia s 

It would seem that the policy of the English refusal to 
entertain the Austrian project was questioned even by 
friendly critics abroad. To remove misapprehensions in a 
quarter where he was anxious that none should exist, the 
Prince went fully into the subject in a letter (18th May) to 
the Prince of Prussia (the present Emperor of Grermany), in 
which he dealt fully with the suggestion, which had been 
thrown out, that Eussia might be held in check by the 
presence in the Black Sea of English and French naval 
forces sufficient to create an effectual counterpoise to the 
Eussian fleet. From this letter we extract the more important 
passages : 

4 The creation of war harbours and establishments in tLt 
Black Sea, is not such a simple and practicable task as it 
may look. Except Sebastopol, there is no natural harbour 
in all the Black Sea. They must therefore be constructed 
artificially, and this alone is an undertaking which cannot be 
carried out under from twenty to thirty years. Cherbourg 
was begun under Louis XIV., and is not complete to this 
hour, despite the most strenuous and unintermitted efforts 
of the different French Governments. Plymouth was begun 
in 1805 and only finished in 1842. I speak here only of 
the harbour, not of the dockyards, which are still in hand. 
Since 1845 we have been at work at Dover, Holyhead, and 
Portland, without much progress visible. If this be so in 
the centre of civilisation, and with all our national resources at 
hand, how should we stand in dealing with similar works 
in Asia Minor ? After the harbours are built, great dock 
yards would be essential ; Eussia has for fifty years been 
hard at work preparing hers in Sebastopol (this, too, within 
her own territory) ; then the whole would have to be pro- 


tected by extensive sea and land fortifications ; and these 
again would create the necessity for a garrison of from five 
to ten thousand men, and when all is done, we should only 
have built a mousetrap for ourselves, for without the pos 
session of the Dardanelles we might at any moment be cut 
off from everything we had constructed, and starved out. 
In the same way it would puzzle us to hold Malta without 
Gibraltar, island though it be. 

Well, you say, whoever wants to be secure must not shrink 
from making sacrifices. Most just; but we have made the 
sacrifices of the war sacrifices which for us alone already 
amount to forty-seven millions sterling sacrifices which, 
very naturally, Austria, Prussia, and Grermany, have shrunk 
from making. The nation has willingly made these tem 
porary sacrifices, but it has not paid that price in order to 
purchase permanent sacrifices. It expects, and justly, a 
peace in return, which will lay the foundations of lasting 
security and concord, not an armed truce, the maintenance 
of which is based upon the constant presence of all the 
antagonistic elements of strife. 

The reduction of the Kussian fleet in the Black Sea, 
which is indicated as the sacrifice on the other side, is no 
sacrifice at all, but an actual boon to the Russian State. But 
to a limitation of this kind we are told Russian honour 
can never assent ! I should accept the argument as un 
answerable if it were the Baltic fleet whose limitation was 
demanded, or a fleet organised for the protection of the 
Russian coasts and of Russian commerce : but the fleet here 
is one whose very existence can be regarded only as a means 
of aggression against the Porte : a fleet which has no enemy 
to repel from its commerce or its coasts ; which cannot 
venture on the high seas, but is built solely for a land-locked 
sea ; whose existence therefore is in no sense necessary for 
the welfare of Russia, although it menaces the destruction of 


the Porte. The only argument which Prince Gortschakoff 
could adduce for its being necessary was, that it was required 
to protect Constantinople against the ambitious designs of the 
Western Powers. 

Further, it is said that the demand for a limitation of 
the fleet is unjust, because Sebastopol has not yet been taken. 
To this I need only reply by recalling attention to the fact 
that what Russia formerly said was : Now we can enter upon 
negotiations for peace, for the Allies have their victories of 
Alma and Inkermann, we our brilliant defence of Sebastopol ; 
if the city falls, our honour forbids us to think of peace ! 

Let me put aside all diplomatic considerations, and deal 
with the question of peace upon the basis of the actual 
status quo, as mere soldiers would be justified in doing. 
We are now in possession of Eupatoria and Balaclava, the 
Black Sea and the Baltic. If we evacuate all these positions, 
what is to be our consideration for doing so ? Permission to 
have a small number of ships in the Black Sea, which are to 
observe how Russia goes on restoring her naval power there, 
of which we have for the moment made an end. Is that an 
equitable proposal ? The following illustration would fairly 
represent what is proposed. Two people spring upon a 
third and take from him a pistol, with which he threatens to 
assassinate their friend : after a long struggle the third man 
says : " Let me go ! " " On what condition ? " That I 
get back my pistol, and that you also have pistols with which 
you may stand sentry over your friend." 

What fate this summer may bring us, the gods only 
know ! We are in good heart, trusting in the goodness of 
our cause ; but I still remain of opinion that so long as 
Austria and Prussia take no active part in the war, we shall 
not make any speedy peace ; with their participation it 
would be made speedily, and on terms not too unfavourable 
to Russia, for then, instead of the preliminary condition, 


that Kussia must be thoroughly beaten before she can give 
in, would have interposed the fact of the mere demonstration 
of the whole European contending Powers, to cope with 
which Kussia cannot feel herself able, a fact which she may 
admit without dishonour. 

The Eastern Question being, as it was, one which con 
cerned Europe generally, it was indeed not likely to be settled 
permanently except with the active concurrence of all 
the European Powers. Even if Russia were beaten to her 
knees, and driven to accept terms which she regarded as 
humiliating, what prospect was there that she would hold 
herself bound by these terms one hour after she thought she 
had recovered strength to reassert her claim to dominate 
Turkey, and again to dispute the right of Europe to interfere, 
diplomatically or otherwise, in whatever differences might 
arise between her neighbour and herself? All material 
guarantees against such a contingency were manifestly 
inadequate and could at best be only temporary. A general 
European concert could alone effect a permanent settlement. 
Neither Austria nor Prussia, it was obvious, would throw 
themselves into the present straggle. But might it not be 
possible to induce them to enter into an alliance, by which 
they should bind themselves to make the war of Russia on 
Turkey a general international object, and a casus belli 
for the alliance ? Why should they not combine with the 
Western Powers in demanding from Russia that any existing 
or future questions between her and Turkey, or between 
Turkey and any of themselves, should not be decided by 
arms, but be dealt with diplomatically in concert with the 
other European Powers, and that Russia, in the deliberations 
on all such questions, should not pretend to more than one 
voice ? Any action to the contrary should be considered as 
war to the alliance, and be dealt with as such. All previous 


treaties between Kussia and the Porte having been annulled 
by the war, the pretensions of Russia to special rights in 
Turkey were at an end. The other States of Europe were 
not less solicitous than Russia for the establishment of good 
government and religious toleration in European Turkey. 
United, they could put irresistible pressure upon the Porte 
to compel the necessary reforms, or, if the Ottoman rule 
continued, after fair trial, to prove intolerable to the well- 
being and perilous to the tranquillity of Europe, such 
changes might be devised in the common interest, as would 
ensure the welfare of the conflicting races within the country, 
without the anarchy and widespread misery, which must 
ensue from any forcible and one-sided attempt to alter their 
relations to each other. Any other settlement, which left 
Turkey free to play the rival ambitions of one State against 
another, and at the same time left these States free to seek 
the aggrandisement of their own interests in the weakness 
and wickedness of Ottoman rule, could only be patchwork, 
and be followed by sanguinary and wasting struggles at some 
future day. 

Such, we may fairly conclude, to have been some of the 
considerations which were canvassed between the Prince and 
Baron Stockmar, who had passed the winter in England, and 
was still there, in the f high debates which they held upon 
the great question of the hour. In a Memorandum sub 
mitted to the Cabinet, and which was before them in de 
liberating finally on the Austrian proposal, some of the 
Prince s views in this direction are developed in the following 
terms : 

A difficulty existing in enforcing material guarantees, let 
us consider the value of diplomatic guarantees. 

There is only one kind of diplomatic guarantee that 
appears to me to be an equivalent for the material one given 


up with the principle of limitation, viz., that of a general 
European defensive league for Turkey as against Russia. 

Carrying this out, it should be agreed upon by Europe, 
in addition to a general guarantee of the independence and 
integrity of the Turkish Empire, and to stipulations as to the 
steps to be taken in the event of threatening armaments on 
the part of Kussia, that on no account are to be renewed any 
of the old treaties between Russia and Turkey, by her inter 
pretation of which Russia has at all times been able to 
interfere in the internal affairs of Turkey and to obtain 
a plausible cause of quarrel ; that every question between 
Turkey and another Power is to be brought for settlement 
before the European tribunal, and any attempt to enforce 
demands upon Turkey single-handed is to constitute a casus 
belli for the contracting parties. 

4 This agreement should not be entered into with Austria 
alone, who has proved to us that, the case arising, she would 
always hesitate to go to war with Russia as long as the 
position of Prussia and Germany remained undefined, but 
should include both these Powers, as well as, if possible, 
Sardinia and Sweden. This would place Europe permanently 
in a compact attitude for defence, and render it entirely 
impossible for Russia to make any threatening movement 
towards Turkey, had she even ever so many ships in the 
Black Sea. It would, moreover, place Russia, with regard 
to her influence over the different States of Europe, in the 
disadvantageous position, that each of them would feel 
conscious, that on a given emergency it was in duty bound to 
oppose her by force of arms a consciousness which would 
place a moral bar to the kind of protectorate which Russia 
has hitherto exercised over the whole centre of Europe, and 
particularly over Germany. 

Can such a defensive coalition be obtained ? / think it 


Austria, I am sure, can wish for nothing better; insur 
ing her, as it would, against future Turkish complications, 
and guaranteeing to her, if they should arise, the precon 
certed support of the whole of Germany and of the Western 

Prussia has already several times shown her willingness 
to buy off the necessity of a present decision by prospective 
promises. It ought clearly to be worth her while to join in 
making such a proposal, for the purpose of obtaining an 
immediate peace and security from impending complications 
without incurring any sacrifice or running any present 

It may be objected that peace upon such terms would not 
satisfy the honour of our arms. 

If it does not, the cause must not be looked for in the 
nature of the peace itself, but in the fact that we have not 
taken Sebastopol. With respect to this it must, however, 
be said, that the expedition to the Crimea was undertaken, 
not for its conquest, but in order to bring Russia to terms of 
peace which would give security to Turkey ; and that the 
Crimea was chosen by France and England, forsaken by 
the rest of Europe, as the only vulnerable point of attack. 

In making such a peace we should have succeeded in our 
object for ike, present , and imposed upon the whole of 
Europe united the task to defend for the future what, from 
an unfortunate complication of circumstances, has been left 
in this instance to the single exertions of the Western Powers. 
It may be doubted, at the same time, whether any 
success which the Allies might obtain in the Crimea or the 
Black Sea generally will inflict such losses on Russia as 
would make her willing to submit to conditions which she 
might consider humiliating ; and other more important suc 
cesses cannot reasonably be expected without a participation 
in the war of any of the Powers bordering upon Russia. 


4 To sum up, I think we ought to say : If Austria, 
Prussia, and Germany will give the diplomatic guarantee for 
the future which I have above detailed, we shall consider 
this an equivalent for the material guarantee sought for in 
the limitation of the Eussian fleet, and pass on to the fourth 
point of the bases of negotiations for peace. 


Buckingham Palace, 3rd May. 

In the views thus expressed the Cabinet concurred, and a 
copy of the Memorandum was sent, with their approval, to 
the Emperor of the French. He thereupon decided to join 
with us in rejecting the Austrian proposals, a step imme 
diately followed by the resignation of M. Drouyn de Lhuys. 

On the 5th of May Stockmar left England. He was very 
much out of health, and depressed by the effects of a painful 
affection of the liver, from which he suffered through life. 
All partings were especially distasteful to him, and on the 
present occasion he gave no notice of his intention. His 
vacant rooms were the first intimation to his hosts that their 
valued guest was gone. Next day the Prince wrote to him 
as follows : 

I will send after you only one word, of the dismay occa 
sioned by your sudden disappearance. There was an outcry 
through all the house from great and small, young and old ! 
"The Baron is gone ! " Then, however, came variations upon 
it. " I wanted to say this and this to him." " He promised 
he would stay longer." " I went to his room, and found 
it empty." " I would have travelled with him." " He 
promised to carry a letter to my father." " J ai encore com 
mence un travail qu il me demandait." 

6 You can divine who the persons were by what they 
exclaimed, without my naming them ; but not the feelings of 



regret which overwhelmed all at having lost you from among 

I hope you have not suffered on your journey from the 
abominable weather. I have been seized with fresh cold in 
the head, and am overwhelmed with business yourself, 
Briegleb, Becker, and Grey, having all deserted me within 
two days, and left me here alone with Phipps, to wrestle with 
the deluge as best I may. 

I have completed my Memorandum upon the Peace 
question, and sent one copy to the Cabinet, and another (with 
the consent of the Cabinet) to the Emperor. Your ideas 
have been developed in it. I would I could have submitted 
it to yourself first ! As a courier is going to Brussels, I must 
send you a line by him. 

Drouyn s resignation supposes a return to the policy 
from which he and Lord John departed. I fear it will 
involve the resignation of the latter, which will have the effect 
of involving us in fresh Ministerial difficulties. Walewski 
stepped into Drouyn s place, and to the inquiry whether 
Persigny would be acceptable to the Queen here, the answer 
has been given in the affirmative. 

The attacks upon the Army and the Administration here 
continue, The Times a la tete du mouvement. 

Sir Robert Inglis died two days ago. I lose in him a 
colleague in the Fine Arts Commission, and a steadfast friend, 
despite his extreme " sanctity." 

The Duke [of Coburg] arrives this evening, but will only 
remain a few days, because the King of Saxony has intimated 
his intention to visit him at Gotha. He will give us the latest 
news from Paris. 

The news from the Crimea are all favourable. 
Buckingham Palace, 8th May, 1855. 

A few days after this letter was written a violent attack 
upon the Army and the Administration was made in the 


House of Lords by Lord Ellenborough, in moving an Address 
to the Queen expressive of absolute distrust in those to whom 
the conduct of the war was entrusted. A majority of 110 
in favour of the Ministers in a House of 250 disposed conclu 
sively of the motion. Lords Hardwicke and Derby, on the 
one side, and the Duke of Newcastle, Lords Granville and 
Lansdowne, on the other, took part in the debate, which was 
chiefly memorable as eliciting from Lord Lansdowne the 
first authentic statement which had up to this time been 
published in England, of the frightful expenditure of human 
life which the war had already caused to Russia. He said : 

The loss and destruction and misery inflicted on the Russians 
have been threefold that inflicted on the whole armies of the 
Allies. The noble earl has some idea, perhaps, of the extent to 
which that loss has gone ; that, if our troops have suffered from 
want of clothing, of habitations, of the means of transport, the 
Russians have suffered ten times more ; but I should astonish 
your lordships by stating what the amount of that loss to the 
enemy has been. I have here a statement, made on the very 
highest authority, and from this it appears that a few days before 
the death of the Emperor Nicholas a return was made up, stating 
that 170,000 Russians had died, and according to a supplementary 
return, made up a few days later, 70,000 were added to the list, 
making a total loss of 240,000 men. 

The loss of a single life in a popular tumult excites 
individual tenderness and pity. No t^ars are shed for 
nations. So wrote Sir Philip Francis in a letter to Burke. 
It is a pitiful truth. And yet a thrill of horror went through 
the House at this startling announcement, and it awoke the 
profoundest feeling of sympathy throughout the kingdom 
for the brave men so ruthlessly sacrificed to one man s 
ambition. Heu. cadit in quemquam tantum scelus?-"* 
was the thought which ro>e in many a mind. 

A fellow feeling had quickened men s sensibilities at home 
to the terrible sacrifices of war, and the moral responsibilities 

T 2 


of those who provoke it. The maimed and wasted frames of 
such of our picked troops as had been sent home invalided, 
told of these in a language more eloquent than words. From 
week to week men read of fresh detachments of invalids 
returning and being visited by the Queen and Prince. But 
more impressive than all was the scene when, on the 18th 
of May, the Queen presented the Crimean medals to the 
officers and soldiers who had been engaged in the battles of 
the Alma, Balaclava, and Inkermann. Long before the hour 
appointed for the ceremony, which took place on the Parade 
between the Horse Gruards and St. James s Park, every spot 
was occupied from which it could be seen. Soon after ten 
o clock the Queen and Prince arrived upon the ground, and 
took up their places upon a raised dais. . 

After the customary ceremony of marching past, the line 
formed three sides of a square, facing the dais. The names of 
the officers, &c. entitled to the decoration were called over by 
the Deputy Adjutant- General, and each person passing in succes 
sion was presented with the medal. As each soldier came up, 
Lord Panmure handed to the Queen the medal to which he was 
entitled, and the soldier having saluted Her Majesty passed on 
to the rear, where they might be seen proudly exhibiting their 
medals to admiring groups both of friends and strangers 
(Morning Chronicle, May 19, 1855.) 

So far back as the 22nd of March, the Queen had herself 
suggested to Lord Clarendon, that the medals should be 
given by her own hands, for she knew well how this would 
not merely enhance the value of the gift, but go to the very 
hearts of the brave men who were at this moment upholding 
their country s honour before a gallant and powerful foe. It 
was right that the people, in the person of their Sovereign, 
should thus testify their appreciation of those who had 
fought so well and borne so much. Let the following letter 
from Her Majesty to the King of the Belgians tell how 
thoroughly her own sympathies were moved, along with those 


of the crowds, who watched with dimmed eyes and beating 
hearts the spectacle, of which she was the central figure : 

Buckingham Palace, 22nd May, 1855. 

4 ... Ernest will have told you what a beautiful and 
touching sight and ceremony (the first of the kind ever wit 
nessed in England) the distribution of the medals was. 
From the highest prince of the blood to the lowest private, 
all received the same distinction for the bravest conduct in 
the severest actions, and the rough hand of the brave and 
honest private soldier came for the first time in contact with 
that of their Sovereign and their Queen. Noble fellows ! I 
own I feel as if they were my own children my heart beats 
for them as for my nearest and dearest ! They were so 
touched, so pleased, many, I hear, cried ; and they won t 
hear of giving up their medals to have their names engraved 
upon them, for fear that they should not receive the identical 
one put into their hands by me ! Several came by in a 
sadly mutilated state. None created more interest or is 
more gallant than young Sir Thomas Troubridge, who had at 
Inkermann one leg and the foot of the other carried away by 
a round shot, and continued commanding his battery till the 
battle was over, refusing to be carried away, only desiring 
his shattered limbs to be raised, in order to prevent too 
great a hsemorrhage ! 1 He was dragged by in a bath chair, 
and when I gave him his medal, I told him I should make 
him one of my aides-de-camp for his very gallant conduct ; 
to which he replied, " I am amply repaid for everything." 
One must revere and love such soldiers as those ! 

1 When his request had been complied with, he continued to watch with the 
greatest anxiety the progress of the cannonade, and, each time the guns were 
loaded, gave the word Fire! as composedly as if he had been untouched. 
When pressed to allow himself to be removed, so that his wounds might be 
attended to, he answered, No ! I do not move until the battle s won. On the 
19th of March the Prince had gone to see Sir Thomas Troubridge at Ports 

2 7 8 


COUNT NESSELRODE had said in one of his recent despatches, 
speaking of the Kussian army, Their noble devotion has 
been, of all the appliances of negotiation, the most conducive 
to success. 1 The Allied Governments, on their part, saw no 
less decisively, that it was only through their armies that 
negotiation was now possible. While the Conferences were 
proceeding at Vienna, the Allied forces had not been idle. 
They had failed to make any impression by their fire on the 
defences of Sebastopol, but their trenches were drawing 
closer and closer to the city. They had repelled successfully 
more than one desperate sally. With the finer weather their 
hardships had diminished; sickness was abating; the men 
were in good heart, and on the English side, at least, were 
growing impatient for more decided action. Their eagerness 
was held in check by the irresolution of the French Com 
mander-in-chief, General Canrobert, who, with all his fine 
qualities as a soldier, wanted the self-confidence and the 
wise boldness of initiation which go to the making of a 
general of the highest order. He felt his own defects, and 
asked to be relieved of his command. His request was com 
plied with, and on the 19th of May Lord Kaglan telegraphed 
to Lord Pan mure that his coadjutor had been authorised by 
the Emperor to place his command in the hands of General 

1 Leur noble denouement a etc, de tons les nwyens de negotiation, le plus 


The change was welcomed as an assurance that the bolder 
counsels, which Lord Kaglan had long urged in vain, would 
henceforth prevail in the French camp. Canrobert, whose 
heart and soul were in the enterprise, and who was devoted 
to his English comrades 2 in it, continued to give his valuable 
services at the seat of war as a General of Division. But 
the information which reached our Government as to the 
respective qualities of his successor and himself satisfied 
them that under General Pelissier the siege was more likely 
to advance, than if the control of the French forces had not 
passed into his hands. The difference between the two men, 
according to Marshal Vaillant, was this : Pelissier will lose 
14,000 men for a great result at once, while Canrobert would 
lose the like number by driblets, without obtaining any 
advantage. Canrobert s proceedings before Sebastopol had 
confirmed this view. He had hesitated to seize and to fortify 
the Mamelon Hill, while it was still free to him to do so, 
a neglect which cost numberless lives, and delayed for months 
the progress of the siege. He left himself to be attacked, 
where vigour of assault would have secured important advan 
tages with smaller loss of life, and from mere apprehension 
of weakening his forces suffered them to be wasted away in 
repelling sallies, which a bolder policy would have made 
impossible. General Pelissier was cast in a different mould. 
To strike boldly and thoroughly was his way. Speaking of 
his determination General Changarnier himself a man by 
no means wanting in the quality once said : If there 
was an emeute, I should not hesitate at burning a quarter 
of Paris. Pelissier would not flinch from burning the 

The time had come for the Allies to strike at the foe else- 

2 Canrobert is a worthy fellow as can be, and much attached to the 
English. Private Letter from General Simpson to Lord Panmure, 21st July, 


where than at Sebastopol. To destroy the stores from which 
his supplies were drawn, was the most effective means of 
weakening the resistance there. With this view arrange 
ments had some time before been organised for an expedition 
to Kertch and the Straits of Yenikale, which lead into the 
Sea of Azoff, there being every reason to believe that from 
this part of the Crimea large supplies were being sent by a 
circuitous route to Sebastopol. A former expedition with 
the same object had been recalled, just after it started, by 
a telegram from the Emperor of the French ; but on the 
21st of May it sailed again with a large body of troops, 
English, French, and Turkish, under the supervision of Sir 
George Brown. They disembarked in the neighbourhood 
of Kertch without resistance, and on advancing found that 
the Eussians had retreated, having first blown up all their 
works along the coast, spiked all their guns, and, before 
evacuating Kertch, destroyed immense stores of provisions. 
Advancing into the Sea of Azoff with his squadron of 
steamers on the 25th of May, Captain Lyons 3 found that four 
Russian war- steamers, which had escaped from Kertch, had 
been run ashore and burnt to the water s edge at Berdiansk. 
Here many vessels and extensive corn stores were taken and 
destroyed. At Genitchi four days later the expedition burnt 
many corn stores and vessels laden with corn. All these 
objects were effected without loss of life and with scarcely a 

The heaviness of the blow thus inflicted upon the Russians 
was unquestionable, for the stores destroyed at Kertch and 
in the Sea of Azoff were alone computed to be equal to the 
rations of 100,000 men for four months. Moreover, it was 
now apparent that the available forces of the Russians were 

3 This most promising young officer, the son of Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons, 
died on the 23rd of June following of wounds received during a bombardment 
of Sebastopol, by a portion of the Allied fleet, on the 18th of that month. 


by no means so numerous as had been represented, otherwise 
they would never have allowed so formidable a blow to be 
struck without some show of resistance. This conclusion was 
confirmed by an intercepted letter from Prince Gortschakoff, 
from which it appeared that General W ran gel, who com 
manded the troops in the peninsula of Yenikale, and had 
repeatedly asked for reinforcements in anticipation of an 
attack by the Allied forces, had been told in reply that none 
could be sent. It was viewed by the English troops as a 
good omen that the successful descent upon Kertch was 
made on the Queen s birthday, the 24th of May. It had. 
indeed, struck the enemy in his weakest point his supplies 
of food and the means of transport and the results were not 
long in making themselves felt. 

While the war was being thus vigorously pressed in the 
East, the Peace party at home were bent on bringing it to 
a close. On the 21st of May there stood for discussion in 
the House of Commons a motion by Mr. Milner Gibson, 
then Member for Manchester, for an address to the Crown, 
expressing regret that the opportunity offered by the Vienna 
Conferences for bringing the negotiations to a pacific issue 
had not been improved, and asserting, that the interpretation 
of the Third Point conceded by Eussia furnished the elements 
for renewed Conferences and a good basis for a just and satis 
factory peace. It was understood that this motion was to 
be supported by Mr. Gladstone, Sir James Graham, and Mr. 
Sidney Herbert ; but on being assured by Lord Palmerston, 
in answer to a question from Mr. Sidney Herbert, that the 
Conferences were not yet closed, and that Austria was still 
charged with propositions for peace, these gentlemen brought 
their influence to bear on Mr. Milner Gibson, who consented 
to postpone his motion until after the Whitsuntide recess. 
Such was the position of affairs when the Prince wrote the 
following letter to Baron Stockmar : 


4 1 steal a morning hour to send you a little word. Ernest 
went away on Friday evening, having stayed over the cere 
mony of distributing the medals, which was really in the 
highest degree solemn and impressive. The public was very 
enthusiastically excited and moved, for many a noble form, 
sadly shattered, passed in that procession. 

4 The moment is an extremely critical one, and the prospects 
are not cheerful. The state of France just at this time is 
anything but tranqui Rising, to judge by what is reported to 
us on all hands, and the Peace party are working hard to 
make the Emperor as unpopular as possible. Canrobert s 
resignation shows there is something out of sorts in the Army 
itself. In Vienna, it is becoming every day more apparent 
that they have not resolved to join in the war, but only to 
enjoy the advantages of a warlike attitude, and that they 
mean to use the pretext of an alliance with us for the purpose 
of fixing upon us a vile and inconclusive (achlechten) Peace. 
Nevertheless, even the new French Ministry stands under 
Austrian influence. 

s Here a combination of the Derbyites, of Layard and his 
friends, and of Lord Ellenborough, which had for its object 
to overturn the Ministry, has fallen to pieces. On the other 
hand, the Peace party, Bright, &c., bring forward a motion 
this evening for peace a tout prix, to which the Peelites 
(with Gladstone and Graham at their head) will give their 
adherence ! ! and which Lord Grey is to follow up by a 
motion to the same effect in the Upper House a motion 
which has been concerted with Aberdeen ! ! Thus these 
people will present a public confirmation of all the charges 
which have been made against them within the last two years, 
and embitter the nation permanently against them, in a way 
that will make the reconstruction of a Conservative party 

Buckingham Palace, 20th May, 1855. 


It had long been surmised that the views of Sir James 
Graham and his friends, on the subject of the war, were not 
in harmony with those of the nation generally. But the 
public were taken by surprise when they learned, that three 
leading members of the Govern men t, which had sanctioned 
the expedition to the Crimea, were about to support a motion 
for a peace, which did not secure the objects by which alone 
that expedition was justified. Could it be that the Govern 
ment were about to be parties to such a peace ? Was this 
the condition on which the withdrawal of Mr. Gibson s 
motion had been secured ? Were they true, those whispers 
which were current, that Lord John Eussell had concurred 
with M. Drouyn de Lhuys in approving the illusory proposals 
of Austria, of which the general tenor had, by this time, 
become known in the higher political circles ? Fettered as 
he was by the communications which were still taking place 
with the French and Austrian Governments, Lord Palmers- 
ton could not speak out in terms which would at once have 
set these apprehensions at rest. The debate on Mr. Milner 
Gibson s motion had been looked forward to by the Opposition 
and the war party in the House as the opportunity for 
coming to a clear understanding as to the Government policy. 
They were resolved not to be baffled by its postponement. 
Accordingly Mr. Disraeli, on the 22nd of May, gave notice 
that on the 24th he would move the following resolution : 

That this House cannot adjourn for the recess without ex 
pressing its dissatisfaction with the ambiguous language and 
uncertain conduct of Her Majesty s Government in reference to 
the great question of peace or war, and that, under these cir 
cumstances, the House feels it a duty to declare, that it will 
continue to give every support to Her Majesty in the prosecution 
of the war until Her Majesty shall, in conjunction with her 
Allies, obtain for the country a safe and honourable peace. 

The speech with which Mr. Disraeli introduced his motion 

284 DEBATE 1855 

was largely occupied by an attack upon Lord John Russell, 
in which the vehemence of his former hostility to Russia was 
contrasted with the yielding spirit which he had shown 
towards that Power in the Vienna Conferences. For two 
hours and a harf Mr. Disraeli engaged the attention of the 
House, while he sought to demonstrate, by ({notations from 
the published despatches enlivened by the brilliancy of 
sarcasm and invective, which within certain limits are the 
life of debate that Lord John Russell had, first as Foreijm 


Minister, and again as Plenipotentiary, compromised the 
interests of the nation. Nor were the Government, said the 
speaker, less to blame. They had been weak and vacillating 
in their action, appealing to Austria as a mediator, and 
vainly expecting her to be an ally. It was time to end 
these morbid negotiations for peace, which only inspired 
distrust in our allies, our generals, our officers, our aristo 
cracy, and to close the Conferences. I am against this prin 
ciple of " leaving the door open." 4 I say, continued Mr. 
Disraeli, shut the door, and let those who want to come in 
knock at the door, and then we shall secure a safe and honour 
able peace. This we coidd only hope to effect by a vigorous 
prosecution of the war. The speech would have been more 
satisfactory if it had contained any indication of what the 
terms of a safe and honourable peace would be. But on 
this point it was silent. As it was, the cheers with which 
the warlike portions of it were received, showed that no 
change of opinion had taken place in the House of Commons. 
Well assured of this fact, Sir Francis Baring moved an 

4 France, for obvious reasons, attached much more value to Austria s active 
co-operation than we did. Austria, as we well knew, had strong reasons not to 
move in the field against Russia until that Power was, in effect, disabled, for 
she had insurrections to apprehend both in Hungary and Italy, against which 
she had to reserve her forces. In writing to the Emperor of the French on the 
28th of May, Lord Palmerston expressed his conviction thus : Victorieux en 
Crimce, nous coni tn<tndcrons fa-mitte, peut-etre meme Vepee de lAutnche; 
manguant de succes tn Criiuee, nous ri awns pas mvme sa plume 


amendment, in which the House, while merely expressing its 
regret that the Conferences had not led to a termination of 
hostilities, was asked to adopt the latter part of Mr. Disraeli s 
motion, which promised support for the war. In the debate 
which ensued Mr. Gladstone developed the views of the 
members of the Aberdeen Cabinet, who had seceded from 
Lord Palrnerston s Government. The burden of his speech 
was to urge peace on the terms offered by Russia, although, 
as we have already shown, these would have left her prepon 
derance in the Black Sea where it was at the commencement 
of the war. He acknowledged that he had approved the 
demand by his colleagues under Lord Aberdeen for a limita 
tion of the Russian fleet ; but contended, that Russia having 
abandoned the pretensions which originally led to the war, 
to continue it was no longer justifiable. What we now 
asked for in the way of limitation was, lie argued, an in 
dignity to Russia. All the terms which we had originally 
demanded had been substantially conceded, and if we fought, 
not for terms, but for military success, let the House look at 
this sentiment with the eye of reason, and it would appear 
immoral, inhuman, unchristian. 

The reply to Mr. Gladstone was undertaken by Lord John 
Russell, who had no difficulty in showing that the condition, 
that Russia s naval force in the Black Sea must be restricted, 
was no more an indignity now, than when Mr. Gladstone 
had joined with his colleagues in the measures, so costly in 
blood and treasure, by which we were seeking to enforce it. 
Without such limitation Constantinople could not be secure 
against the designs of Russia. The refusal of that Power to 
submit to it was a sure indication, that she continued to 
cherish these designs, and that the peace of Europe would 
be again disturbed at no distant date, if the means of aggres 
sion were not taken from her by the conditions of peace. 
Security for Turkey for the future, as well as for the present, 


was the object of the war. The ambition of Eussia was 
illustrated and denounced by Lord John Russell with a 
vigour and elaboration of detail, in which no trace of a dis 
position to accept an unsatisfactory peace was to be observed. 
In fact, his speech influenced in no slight degree the vote 
which was taken at the close of a protracted debate next 
evening, when Mr. Disraeli s motion was negatived by a 
majority of 100 in a House of 538 members. 

The motion of Sir Francis Baring still remained to be 
discussed, and also an amendment upon it by Mr. Lowe, 
which proposed to pledge the House to the approval in 
express terms of a rupture of negotiations on the ground of 
Russia s refusal to restrict the strength of her navy in the 
Black Sea. But the debate upon these was adjourned till 
the 4th of June, after the Easter recess. A motion of Earl 
Grey s in the House of Lords on the 25th of May, in terms 
nearly identical with that of Mr. Milner Gibson, and sup 
ported by a speech chiefly remarkable for its warm praises 
of the candour, honesty, and pacific spirit of the late Emperor 
Nicholas, elicited such strong opinions from every section of 
the House in condemnation of peace on such terms as Russia 
was alone disposed to concede, that it was not pressed to a 

While these agitating discussions were going on, the Court 
was at Osborne, where it had gone as usual for Her Majesty s 
birthday. The severe winter, the Prince notes, had wrought 
great havoc upon his finer shrubs and plants. Holiday 
for the Prince meant little more than changing the scene of 
labour. Still the cares of reading and answering despatches, 
and of an active correspondence, were lightened by laying out 
further improvements on the property, and by excursions to 
Portsmouth to inspect the transports lying there with horses 
to replace the losses in the Crimea, and to the Needles to 
inspect the Victoria and Cliff End batteries, part of the Coast 


defences, in which the Prince had always taken a lively 
and wakeful interest. While at Osborne, the details were 
received of the operations on the Sea of Azoff, the results of 
which were peculiarly gratifying to the Prince, as he had 
long urged the importance of an attack in this direction. 
On the 30th of May he writes to the Dowager Duchess of 
Coburg : 

We have withdrawn here for ten days for the quiet 
solemnisation of Victoria s birthday. To-morrow, alas ! our 
holiday is at an end, and then new fatigues and exertions of 
every kind, in temper, mind, and body, await us in London. 
Of our negotiations for peace nothing has come ; for Ruesia 
naturally recoiled from the proposition with which they 
commenced, " de mettre fin a sa preponderance maritime 
dans la Mer Noire" and, after what had passed, we could 
not be content with less. Both intelligible, but unfortunate, 
and so a fresh campaign begins forthwith. 

The same day he writes to Baron Stockmar as follows : 

We return to town to-morrow, but before doing so I will 
send you a living token of what we are about. We are well 
and in good heart, especially since the tidings of the de 
struction of the forts and ships at the Straits of Kertch, 
and the entry of our light-draught steam -vessels into the Sea 
of Azoff, by which we are put in a position to limit the 
Russian base of operations by way of Perekop, and to pene 
trate as far as the Don, and either to break up or to destroy 
their great magazines of supplies. In this way the masses of 
troops which the Russians are able to bring against us into 
the Crimea will be limited to an amount for which we are 
quite a match. Perhaps in summer their numbers must 
even be reduced. 

In General Peli^sier the French have at last once more 


found a leader, who is capable of forming a decision and 
acting upon it, and who will rekindle the spirit of the French 
army which has been dashed by Canrobert s irresolution and 
want of firmness ( Weichheit). The recent night-attacks, in 
which the Russians have lost 6,000 men, are a voucher of 
the fact. The Sardinians and the French reserves have 
now arrived, and the army will be able to enter upon the 

The English troops once more amount to 30,000 men 
under arms, and their spirit is excellent. 

4 In diplomacy we are just as badly off as we are well off 
in the field ! Austria seems likely to seal her own shame 
in the face of all Europe. The new French Ministry is as 
incapable as might be expected of a man like Walewski, and 
the Emperor s position most unpleasant ! 

The Vienna Conferences, which it would have been better 
to leave open, must now be closed, if only to get the Mi 
nistry rest in Parliament. Oh, Oxenstiern ! Oh, Oxenstiern ! 5 

When this letter was written, the French and English 
Governments had both decided upon closing the Conferences. 
These were not, however, actually closed till the 5th of June, 
when the respective Plenipotentiaries of the two countries 
stated, that they now attended the Conferences at the invi 
tation of the Austrian Ambassador, but that they had no 
proposal to make. Their Governments considered the 
refusal of Russia to consent to any limitation of her Black 
Sea fleet as final, and as no advantage from continuing the 
Conferences could therefore be expected, they regarded the 
negotiations as at an end, and the Conferences finally closed. 

The Court returned to London on 31st of May. In 
anticipation of the debate on Sir Francis Baring s motion, 

5 The allusion here is to the well-known saying of Count Oxenstiern, Oh, 
my son, mark how little wisdom goes to the government of states ! 


in which all the debating power of the House of Commons 
was sure to he put forth, the Queen and Prince were appre 
hensive of injury to the national interests in the struggle 
with Eussia, as well as to the reputation of statesmen who 
had guided, and might be expected again to guide, the 
destinies of the kingdom, if the example of Mr. Gladstone 
in the debate on Mr. Disraeli s motion should be followed 
by those members of Lord Aberdeen s Government with 
whom he had hitherto acted in concert. The intimate 
friendship which had so long existed between the Prince 
and Lord Aberdeen justified him in making the late 
Premier aware of the impressions produced upon Her 
Majesty and himself by the line of policy adopted by his 
late colleagues. He accordingly wrote to him the following 
letter : 

My dear Lord Aberdeen, I had sent Colonel Phipps to 
your house, to know whether you were in town, and whether 
it would be convenient for you to come here for a few 
minutes before dinner. He has not found you at home, and I 
am therefore compelled to write to you upon a subject which 
would have been much better treated in conversation than 
it can be in a hurried letter I mean the line which your 
former friends and colleagues, with the exception of the 
Duke of Newcastle, have taken about the war question. It 
has caused the Queen and myself great anxiety, both on 
account of the position of public affairs and on their own 

4 As to the first, any such declaration as Mr. Gladstone 
has made upon Mr. Disraeli s motion must not only weaken 
us abroad in public estimation, and give a wrong opinion as 
to the determination of the nation to support the Queen in 
the war in which she has been involved, but render all 
chance of obtaining an honourable peace without great fresh 

VOL. m. u 


sacrifices of blood and treasure impossible, by giving new 
hopes and spirit to the enemy. 

As to the second, a proceeding which must appear to 
many as unpatriotic in any Englishman, but difficult to 
explain even by the most consummate oratory on the part of 
statesmen, who have, up to a very recent period, shared the 
responsibility of all the measures of the war, and that have 
led to the war, must seriously damage them in public es 
timation. The more so, as having been publicly suspected 
and falsely accused by their opponents of having, by their 
secret hostility to the war, led to all the omissions, mistakes, 
and disasters, which have attended the last campaign, they 
now seem to exert themselves to prove the truth of these 
accusations, and (as Americans would say) to " realise the 
whole capital of the unpopularity " attaching to the authors 
of our misfortunes, whom the public has for so long a time 
been vainly endeavouring to discover. 6 

6 As might have been expected, both these points were dwelt upon with very 
damaging effect in the debate, which began next day. One passage from the 
speech of Mr. J. G. Phillimore, akin to many which might be quoted from 
speakers of greater name, will serve as an illustration. After hearing Mr. 
Gladstone s r< cent speech, he said, he could comprehend how great and magni 
ficent preparations had shrunk into a miserable defence, how disaster and defeat 
had sprung from the bosom of victory, and how a fatal and malignant influence 
had long paralysed the enterprise of our fleets and armies. Of course there 
was not even the shadow of a warrant, in fact, for the inference here suggested, 
but after what had passed, it was Sure to take hold of many minds. No one, the 
speaker continued, could hear that speech without feeling that the Emperor 
of Russia lost powerful auxiliaries in the Cabinet which was overthrown by a 
debate in the House. What had been the conduct of the right hon. gentle 
man? He went to Manchester, and told the people there, that it was futile to 
attempt to prop up the crumbling empire of Turkey ; he entered the Cabinet 
of Lord Aberdeen, and became a party to a war, which had for its express 
object the maintenance of the integrity and independence of the Porte ; he 
withdrew from office, and came out the advocate of peace and the panegyrist of 
Russian moderation. In the course of a very brilliant speech in the same 
debate, Sir E. B. Lytton made one of his most effective points, when he said, 
4 When Mr. Gladstone was dwelling, in a Christian spirit that moved them all. 
on the gallant blood that had been shed by England, by her allies, and by her 
foemen in that quarrel, did it never occur to him, that all the while he was 


c However much on private and personal grounds I grieve 
for this, I must do so still more on the Queen s behalf, who 
cannot afford in these times of trial and difficulty to see the 
best men in the country damaging themselves in its opinion 
to an extent that seriously impairs their usefulness for the 
service of the State. 

The whole position reminds me exceedingly of the one 
taken at the time of the Papal Aggression, when also, 
whether wisely or not. the Queen, backed by the national 
feeling, was at issue with a foreign potentate, you all took 
part with the Pope against the Queen s Government for the 
sake of peace. And you will remember that, when Lord 
John Kussell s Government broke down in 1851, the Queen 
had to go through a fruitless Ministerial crisis, which caused 
many of the anomalies, from which we are suffering even 
now, and this chiefly on account of the peculiar position in 
which your party had placed itself. 

; I write all this now, because the adjourned debate is to 
be reopened to-morrow, and I could not reconcile it to myself 
not to put you in possession of all I feel upon this subject, 
which I know you will receive in the same spirit in which it 

is given. 

4 Ever yours truly, 


Buckingham Palace, 3rd June, 1855. 

The debate began on the 4th, but we gather from the follow 
ing letter by the Prince to Baron Stockmar, that he did not 
see Lord Aberdeen till the 6th. What passed in this inter 
view the letter explains. It seems to have had little effect 
in modifying the views of Mr. Sidney Herbert or Sir James 
Graham, who both spoke in the debate and strongly advocated 
a cessation of the war on the terms offered by Russia : 

speaking, this one question was forcing itself upon the minrls of his English 
audience, " And shall all this blood have been shed in vain ? " 

u 2 


The Vienna Conferences are now closed. What the im 
mediate effect of this will be upon Austria we cannot yet 
calculate, although we may be sure that, as matters now 
stand, it will not even yet strike a blow. 

Our debate is still proceeding, and. as you will have seen, 
Cobden and Graham have made Russian speeches. I wrote 
a fiery (gehamischteri) letter to Aberdeen, to which he 
would not reply in writing, but preferred paying me a visit 
yesterday. In a two hours discussion I think I satisfied him, 
that Palmerston has acted precisely as Aberdeen would have 
acted, although the suspicion that Palmerston did not wish 
for peace may quite possibly be well founded. Nevertheless, 
had the Russians been only disposed to accept it, they might 
have had it, and upon a basis very favourable to them upon 
the whole. 

The closing of the Conference is an enormous gain for our 
relations with Paris, where Walewski is quite in Morny s 7 
hands, and what that is you know. The Emperor mean 
while is so obstinately wedded to his campaign plan, 8 which 
he expounded at Windsor, that he is quite unable to appre 
ciate the advantages of the expedition to the Sea of Azoff ; 
and yet we have in one week taken there Kertch and Yeni- 
kale, destroyed Arabat, Berdiansk, and Grenitschi, annihilated 
nine steamboats and 240 sailing vessels and six millions 
of rations for the Russian army, taken thirty ships, 100 
cannons, 17,000 tons of coals, 1,000 head of cattle, much 
provender and ammunition, laid the whole Sea of Azoff 
under embargo, and cut off all possible communication with 
the Crimea from the East ; which we now know for certain 
was the chief source of supplies. The expedition is to go to 

7 M. de Morny had strong Russian proclivities, and "was gravely sus 
pected of using his position to promote the designs of Russian diplomacy. 

8 Which would have directed a large expeditionary force upon Simpheropol, 
so as to prevent reinforcements being sent to Sebastopol. 

1 8s 5 T0 BARON STOCKMAR. 293 

Taganrog. The Eussians have been obliged to evacuate 
Sotijouk Kale, near Anapa, leaving behind them sixty guns 
and six mortars. Before Sebastopol the troops have seized 
the line of the Tschernaja and the valley of Baidar, and can 
now operate against the line of communication with Bagtschi 
Serai, which will force the Eussians towards the Belbec. 
Thus military matters are in a very good position. 

I will only hope that you are as well off as regards your 
health, and that you are repulsing your enemy at all points. 

Buckingham Palace, 7th June, 1855. 

The debate on Sir Francis Baring s motion extended 
over four nights. The eloquence of Mr. Cobden, Mr. Bright, 
Sir James Graham, and Mr Sidney Herbert fell flat upon 
ears that were little inclined to adopt the praises of Eussia, 
with which their speeches abounded, and their views of the 
terms of peace which should satisfy the Allies for their 
sacrifices in the war. The arguments of the Peace party 
found no more strenuous opponent than Lord John Russell. 
Nor did any portion of his powerful speech elicit a heartier 
response than the following: 

I cannot believe that if Russia were left to work her way 
undisturbedly to the capital of the Turkish Empire, making, 
perhaps, a little progress in 1855, greater progress ten years 
hence, and still further twenty years hence, the independence of 
Europe would be secure. Every one has read the story of the 
first Napoleon, when engaged with the Emperor Alexander in 
considering this great question, calling for a map, putting his 
finger on Constantinople, and after some moments meditation, 
exclaiming, " Constantinople ! no, it is the empire of the world ! " 
I remember, too, another great man, the Duke of Wellington, 
saying, I cannot remember exactly on what occasion, that if, 
in addition to the forces of Russia in the Baltic, she was also, by 
means of Constantinople, to obtain the command of the Mediter 
ranean, she would be too strong for the rest of the world. That, 


I believe, is not only the recognised opinion of great statesmen, 
but it is also the pervading sense of this country, and we must 
not, therefore, allow Russia, either by a simulated peace, or by 
open war, to effect the conquest of Constantinople. 

Lord Palmerston wound up the debate, and spoke even 
more strongly the prevailing sentiment, both of the House 
and of the country. Some words towards the close of the 
speech were received with frequent cheers: 

I say, the intention of Russia to partition Turkey is manifest 
as the sun at noonday, and it is to prevent that that we are con 
tending. That is the object of the war, and not only to defend 
Turkey, the weak against the strong, but to avert injury and danger 
from ourselves. Let no man imagine, that if Turkey is destroyed 
by Russia, and that gigantic power stride like a Colossus from 
the Baltic on the one hand to the Mediterranean on the other, 
let no man suppose the great interests of this country would not 
be in peril ; let not the peace-at-all-price party imagine that their 
commercial interests would not be deeply injured. . . . Trade 
would soon disappear, were the Mediterranean and the Baltic 
nnder the sole command of a Russian naval force, and that 
Power exercising a dominant control over Germany. 

Lord Palmerston concluded by recommending that Mr. 
Lowe s amendment should be negatived, and Sir Francis 
Baring s resolution unanimously agreed to. This course, he 
reported to the Queen the same evening, was acquiesced in 
by Mr. Walpole and Mr. Gladstone, and adopted by the 

The next day the Prince presided at the annual Trinity 
House dinner, and what he said upon this occasion has 
probably attracted more attention than any of his speeches. 
It had been meditated in the quietude of Osborne, and as 
the leading journal said of it at the time, the Prince had 
put more point into an address that cannot have taken 
three minutes to utter, than some parliamentary orators can 
accomplish in two hours. No one was in a better position 


than the Prince to know and estimate the difficulties under 
which a war, on which men s minds are divided, must be 
carried on against a despotic Power by a country with a free 
press, and a government whose every action is open to the 
often impatient challenge of members of both Houses, actu 
ated, it may be, by strong prepossessions, or misled by im 
perfect information. The country had profited by what the 
press had done in calling attention to what was going on in 
the Crimea ; but its action was not all for good. Our 
journals were constantly giving the Russians the information 
which generals seek for with eagerness, but under great diffi 
culties, through the medium of spies and deserters. We 
do not learn much from you (the French), the present 
Emperor had said only a few weeks before to General La- 
gardie, a French officer, who had been taken prisoner the 
day before the battle of the Alma. It is the English press 
which gives us information, and certes, it has been most 
valuable to us. 9 Our plans had often been thwarted and 
great loss of life had resulted from this cause ; and not only 
Lord Raglan, but his successor General Simpson, 10 and other 
officers in responsible positions, had frequently expressed 
doubts whether England could carry on war, unless the press 
put some restraint upon their correspondents at the seat of 

It is to some extent a natural curiosity, which details by 
correspondents such as we have indicated are meant to 
gratify ; but what lover of his country would not willingly 

9 The fact is mentioned in a private Despatch to Lord Clarendon from Lord 
Cowley, Paris, 25th April, 1855. 

10 There is a paragraph in the Morning Post, General Simpson writes to 
Lord Pan mure (24th July, 1855), giving the exact strength of our guards at 
the trenches, lines of relief, &c. It is very disgusting to read these things, 
which are read at Sebastopol some days before they reach us here. The 
success of the expedition to Kertch was mainly due to the fact, that the 
English press had no chance of divulging the point on which it was to be 


forego the information which he derives from them, rather 
than cause a moment s embarrassment to those who are 
fighting his country s battles ? To check the evil the Prince 
seems to have thought that attention had only to be called 
to it, not merely as it prevailed in the press, but also in the 
discussions in Parliament by which Ministers were embar 
rassed in their action, both in diplomacy and in the conduct 
of the war. The time for frank speaking had come. Who 
so fit to seize the occasion as himself, who, as the Consort of 
the Sovereign, had the deepest stake, as well as the warmest 
interest, in the welfare of the kingdom ? It was in proposing 
the toast of Her Majesty s Ministers, that he spoke as 
follows : 

If there ever was a time when the Queen s Government, by 
whomsoever conducted, required the support ay, not the sup 
port alone, but the confidence, goodwill, and sympathy of their 
fellow-countrymen, it is the present. It is not the way to suc 
cess in war to support it, however ardently and energetically, 
and to run down and weaken those who have to conduct it. We 
are engaged with a mighty adversary, who uses against us all 
those wonderful powers which have sprung up under the genera 
ting influence of our liberty and our civilisation, and employs 
them with all the force which unity of purpose and action, im 
penetrable secresy, and uncontrolled despotic pow r er give him ; 
whilst we have to meet him under a state of things intended for 
peace and the promotion of that very civilisation a civilisation 
the offspring of public discussion, the friction of parties, and 
popular control over the government of the State. The Queen 
has no power to levy troops, and none at her command, except 
such as voluntarily offer their services. Her Government can 
entertain no measures for the prosecution of the war without 
having to explain them publicly in Parliament ; her armies and 
fleets can make no movement, nor even prepare for any, without 
its being proclaimed by the press ; and no mistake, however 
trifling, can occur, no weakness exist, which it may be of the 
utmost importance to conceal from the world, without its being 
publicly denounced, and even frequently exaggerated, with a 


morbid satisfaction. The Queen s ambassadors can carry on no 
negotiation which has not to be publicly defended by entering 
into all the arguments which a negotiator, to have success, must 
be able to shut up in the innermost recesses of his heart nay, 
at the most critical moment, when the complications of military 
measures and diplomatic negotiations may be at their height, an 
adverse vote in Parliament may of a sudden deprive her of all 
her confidential servants. 

Gentlemen, Constitutional Government is under a heavy 
trial, and can only pass triumphantly through it if the country 
will grant its confidence a patriotic, indulgent, and self-denying 
confidence to Her Majesty s Government. Without this, all 
their labours must be in vain. 

There were, of course, people ready to cavil at this speech 
as though it advocated the superiority of autocratic to 
constitutional government. But the Prince had the satis 
faction of knowing that his real intention was appreciated, 
not only by all the most influential journalists, but by the 
country generally. The weighty words with which the 
Spectator closed a thoughtful paper must have given him 
peculiar pleasure : 

It may impose some self-sacrifice upon self-sufficiency to be 
obliged to hold the tongue, when privilege enables us to prattle ; 
but prattling and questioning may sacrifice the blood of our 
countrymen ; and certainly a loose talking just now casts grave 
discredit on the institutions we prize, and on the men to whom 
these institutions are entrusted ! The true and obvious moral 
of Prince Albert s admonition is, not to abandon our manifold 
blessings in order to acquire the military advantages of Russia 
which would not be worth the price but to show that our insti 
tutions do not incapacitate us from rivalling the Russian autocracy 
jn its unity of purpose and concentration of action. 

The Prince sent the speech to his venerable Mentor at 
Coburg, with the following letter : 

Although I have not heard one syllable from you since 
you left us, still I will not on that account interrupt my 


tidings about ourselves. The Times now reaches yon, I hope, 
regularly, so that you are able to follow the course of public 
life here. You will have been horrified at the speeches of 
the leaders of the Peelite party. To-day Mr. Layard s 
debate on " Administrative Reform " and " The Right Man 
in the Right Place " will be concluded. The new Associa 
tion makes no way, because its object is too vague, and its pro 
moters are too violent, too interested, and untruthful. 

The few words which I spoke last week at the Trinity 
House, as to the necessity for supporting the Government, 
which had to conduct the war, have attracted much atten 
tion, and produced that decided impression which truth alone 
is able to produce. I enclose the speech and some newspaper 
criticisms upon it. 

4 The Cattle Market, which I opened on Wednesday, is a 
wonderfully grand and beautiful work, which does the City 
all possible honour. 

Victoria is well and cheerful; her nerves are tranquil. 
We are to have visits from Uncle Leopold with the children, 
the Portuguese (Royal family), and perhaps also the King of 
Sardinia. When, we do not know, any more than we know 
when Parliament is to rise. Uncle Leopold appears to be 
very unwell, for he puts off his journey from day to day, and 
complains of weakness and fever ! 

At the seat of war everything is going on right well. 
The fall of Anapa is a fresh blow to Russia. Pelissier is a 
" trouvaille," energetic and determined. Oddly enough, they 
are in Paris (I mean Louis Napoleon is) very much dissatisfied 
since all our successes, " low " about our prospects, anxious, &c. 
I am at a loss to explain why ! The advantage of the expe 
dition to the Black Sea, of the taking of the Mamelon and 
Port du Carenage, is in no degree acknowledged ; nothing 
but complaints, that the operations exterieures have not been 


The nomination of the Grand Duke Constantine as regent 
leads to the inference that the young Emperor will soon be 
taking his departure, and ought to put Germany on the 
alert, for that is a dangerous neighbour. 

Austria is out of humour with herself, with God, and the 
world, and has every reason to be so, for by a half-and-half 
policy she has brought herself into a position that redounds 
little to her honour. 

Buckingham Palace, 17th June, 1855. 

This elicited from Baron Stockmar the following charac 
teristic reply, in which he hits what he felt to be an 
important omission in the Prince s speech, but one which 
was in fact due solely to an unlucky slip of memory in 
delivering it : 

Your Eoyal Highness s speech was full of matter, and 
very well timed. That the press should try to weaken the 
lesson it conveyed by the assertion, that the advantages of 
the Constitutional system counterbalanced its disadvantages, 
was to be expected. But this assertion is only true, so far as 
a free Constitution develops a greater amount of material 
and moral forces than the forms of despotic government. 
What has in practice to be chiefly aimed at is the proper 
organisation >of some one given force, and every free Consti 
tution increases the difficulty of devising and putting into 
shape measures which meet the necessities of the hour. This 
difficulty must somehow or other be got over, otherwise it 
may very easily be, that an inferior, but well-organised 
force shall overthrow one that is superior, but is wanting in 

Let me add, that I miss in the speech a saving clause, 
which by anticipation should meet the charge that the 
Prince, because of the disadvantages of the Constitutional 


system, is at heart inclined to award the preference to the 
despotic form of government. 

To this the Prince replied : 

It has given me very great pleasure to see your hand 
writing once more, even though you are only able to tell me 
of continued indisposition. In such times words of consola 
tion do no good, and all the eloquence of lookers-on is 
powerless to alter the feelings of the patient, nay, are not 
unlikely to make him impatient, and thereby to aggravate 
his sufferings. That cannot be my object, so I confine 
myself to this piece of advice, that the first moment you feel 
a return of strength should be taken advantage of for a 
journey to Gastein, and for calling to your aid the benefi 
cent influence of the water and glorious mountain air there. 

4 1 am delighted that you like my speech. The reproach 
that I have omitted a saving clause is quite just. There it 
was upon the paper, but it did not flow (why I know not) 
from the lips. . . . H 

The miscarriage of the attack [at Sebastopol] on the 
18th was a sad affair ! Now the cholera has made its 
appearance again as enemy. General Estcourt, Admiral 
Boxer, and many others of our best people have died of it. 
The malady has been especially severe on the Sardinians. 
The Kussians are suffering fearfully, as was only to be 
expected. We are kept in hot water by the disquiet of our 
Imperial neighbour, who is continually sending telegraphic 
orders, to which, it is true, Pelissier does not pay much 
heed, but he thereby places himself in a very perilous 
position, especially as the other Generals are allowed to 
send home reports about him. This is a terrible mistake 

11 Apparently no draft or copy of the speech, as intended to be spoken, was 
preserved by the Prince. We are, therefore, unable to re&tore the missing 


(ungeheuer fehlerhaft). Persigny, who goes to Paris to-day 
to fetch his wife, has promised me to represent the danger 
to his master. This M. Persigny approves himself a quite 
straightforward, honourable, and well-meaning man, madly 
imprudent and naturalistic, and often very droll. To Lord 
Clarendon he will say, when they meet in conference : " Ce 
pauvre Waleivski m*a ecrit une depeche. Voulez-vous que 
je vous la Use ? " " S il vous plait. " Ah, je Vai laissee 
a la maison, mais rtimporte : elle ne vaut pas la peine ! " 
He is very fond of philosophizing, and I have had many 
discussions with him, which, as I could not always coincide 
with his views, have ended in his taking me to his heart. 

4 Uncle Leopold comes on Tuesday with Philippe and 
Charlotte ; and by the end of the week we purpose to get 
away from the thoroughly used-up air of London. The 
political folly and levity of parties and the press, amidst the 
terrible mass of business, makes one s head reel. 

Buckingham Palace, 28th June, 1855. 



THE failure of the assault on the 18th of June, alluded to by 
the Prince in his letter just quoted, was the first serious 
check which the Allies had received. On the 7th they had 
met with a signal success, the French having taken the 
Mamelon, and the position known as the Ouvrages Blancs, 
and the English the Gravel Pits, a Eussian outwork in front 
of the Redan. Emboldened by their success, a simultaneous 
attack upon the Malakoff and the Redan had been resolved 
on. Against his own conviction, which was that the Redan 
could not be taken by direct assault, but, if the Malakoff fell, 
would be at the mercy of the besiegers, Lord Raglan yielded 
to the urgent demands of General Pelissier, that the attack 
on both should be made together. The result realised his 
worst anticipations ; and the Allies were repulsed with heavy 
loss at both points. 

This reverse probably took more life out of the brave old 
soldier than all he had undergone in the severity of the 
winter and the anxieties of the siege, and, what was worse, in 
the merciless attacks to which lie had been subjected at 
home. On the 24th he was seized with illness, and he died 
on the 29th. The tidings reached the Queen the same day. 
What grief they spread in the Palace will best be shown by 
the letter which Her Majesty at once addressed to Lady 
Raglan : 

Buckingham Palace, 30th June, 1855. 

Dear Lady Raglan, Words cannot convey all I feel at the 
irreparable loss you have sustained, and I and the country 


also, in your noble, gallant, and excellent husband, whose 
loyalty and devotion to his sovereign and country were 
unbounded. We both feel most deeply for you and your 
daughters, to whom this blow must be most severe and 
sudden. He was so strong and his health had borne the bad 
climate, the great fatigues, and anxieties so well, ever since he 
left England, that, though we were much alarmed at hearing 
of his illness, we were full of hopes of his speedy recovery. 

We must bow to the will of Grod ! But to be taken away 
thus, on the eve of the successful result of so much labour, 
so much suffering, and so much anxiety, is hard indeed ! 

We feel much, too, for the brave army, whom he was so 
proud of, and who will be sadly cast down at losing their gallant 
commander, who had led them so often to victory and glory. 

If sympathy can be any consolation, you have it, for we 
all have alike to mourn, and no one more than I, who have 
lost a faithful and devoted servant, in whom I had the 
greatest confidence. 

We both most anxiously hope, that your health, and that 
of your daughters, may not materially suffer from this 
dreadful shock. Believe me always, my dear Lady Eaglan, 

Yours very sincerely, 


In a letter to Baron Stockmar a few days later (7th July) 
the Prince, speaking of Lord Raglan s death, says : 

Since I last wrote to you, we have added Lord Raglan to 
our losses. Spite of all that has been said and written 
against him, an irreparable loss for us ! There is something 
tragic in the manner of his death. That he should survive 
the disaster of the bloody assault on Waterloo day, and then 
die of sickness ! The 18th was the nail in his coffin, for he 
knew that his troops could do nothing under the circum- 


stances which Pelissier had created, and to give them the 
order to attack was to send them to certain death ; and yet, 
had he not done so, the French army would have believed he 
was deserting them in the hour of need, and ascribed their 
serious losses to him alone. 1 The choice must have been in 
finitely hard for him. And yet the French insinuate, and, 
what is worse, The Times (///) does so too, that Lord Raglan 
is alone to blame. 

In the same letter the Prince announces, with no small 
satisfaction, that the Court, together with King Leopold, 
and his son and daughter, are to leave London for Osborne 
on the 1 Oth. We are quite exhausted, he adds, by the 
heat, and the winding up of the affairs of the season. 

Among the multifarious subjects of public and social 
interest, which at this time, as indeed at all times, engaged 
the Prince s attention, was one, which only now after an 
interval of twenty-two years, seems likely to be taken up 
and dealt with seriously. An entry in his Diary ou the 4th 
of July mentions that he had, in concert with the Sub-Dean 
of Westminster, Lord John Thynne, drawn up a plan for the 
removal of Westminster School into the country, pulling 
down all the old buildings connected with it, and throwing 
open the ground adjoining the Abbey as a park to the public. 
The eminently practical mind of the Prince would not have 
entertained a project so large in its proportions, and involving 

I always guarded myself from being tied down to attack at the same 
moment as the French, and I felt that I ought to have some hope of their 
success before I committed our troops ; but when I saw how stoutly they were 
opposed, I considered it was my duty to assist them by attacking myself, and 
both Sir George Brown and General Jones, who were by my side, concurred 
with me in thinking, that we should not delay to move forward. Of this I am 
quite certain, that, if the troops had remained in our trenches, the French 
would have attributed their non-success to our refusal to participate in 
the operation. Private Despatch, Lord Raglan to Lord Panmurc, 19th June, 


so considerable an expenditure of public money, had he not 
considered it to be essential to the welfare of the time- 
honoured School, as well as called for by a just regard to the 
safety and the beauty of the great national Cathedral and 
Campo Santo. 

Although the affairs of the season, in the fashionable sense, 
might have been wound up, Parliament was still to be the scene 
of some of the fiercest conflicts of a Session, which had already 
been prolific of unusually animated debates. The very war 
like tone of Lord John Russell in the recent debates upon 
the peace proposals had led to a manifesto from Count Buol, 
the Austrian Plenipotentiary at the Vienna Conferences, in 
which attention was called to the inconsistency of Lord John 
Russell s language to Parliament with that which he had 
held, in common with M. Drouyn de Lhuys, in his confiden 
tial interviews with Count Buol at Vienna, where both 
Ministers, Count Buol stated, showed themselves decidedly 
inclined to our (the Austrian) proposal, and undertook to 
recommend the same to their Governments with all their 
influence. On this document being made public, Mr. Milner 
Gibson lost no time in seizing the vantage ground which it 
gave to himself and his friends of the Peace party. Accord 
ingly, on the 6th of July, he asked, in his place in Parlia 
ment, for explanations from the Government of their opposi 
tion to the views of their colleague and Plenipotentiary, If 
the facts were, as stated by Count Buol, how was Lord John 
Russell s approval of the Austrian proposal to be reconciled 
with his remaining in office to carry on the war ? 

It was only too clear that our Plenipotentiary had made a 
series of irreparable mistakes ; first, in countenancing proposals 
which were wholly incompatible with the instructions of both 
the English and French Governments ; next, in not having 
retired from the Cabinet, with which he was at direct 
variance as to what were and were not satisfactory terms of 

VOL. in. x 


peace ; and again, when he threw himself into the front rank 
to advocate a war policy, which by his admissions at Vienna 
admissions which were certainly as well known to Prussia 
and Eussia as to the Allied Governments he had in fact 
condemned. Nothing was needed beyond Lord John Eussell s 
own reply, to point the invectives which it provoked from 
Mr. Cobden, Mr. Koebuck, and Mr. Disraeli. For in that 
reply he admitted, that in his view the Austrian proposal 
might, and ought to .have put an end to the war, and led to 
a safe and honourable peace ; and that he retained this opinion, 
notwithstanding the representations of his colleagues, on his 
return from Vienna, but had remained in office from a sense 
of the public inconvenience, which at so critical a period 
must ensue from a fresh change in the Government arrange 
ments so soon after the recent Ministerial crisis. It was 
obvious that no such plea would be accepted either by the 
party who, with Mr. Cobden, Mr. Bright, and Mr. Gladstone 
at their head, were clamouring for peace, or by the much 
more numerous party in the House, who were bent on a 
vigorous prosecution of the war, but distrusted the sincerity 
of the Government in carrying out the wish of the nation. 
Well might Lord Palmerston, in sending a precis of the dis 
cussion to the Queen, say, this evening in the House of 
Commons has not been an agreeable one. 

What had passed in the House created great excitement 
in the country. The temptation which it afforded for dealing 
a blow at the Ministry was irresistible, and on the 10th of 
July Sir E. Bulwer Lytton gave notice of the following 
motion : That the conduct of our Minister in the recent 
negotiations at Vienna has, in the opinion of this House, 
shaken the confidence of this country in those to whom its 
affairs are entrusted. Two days later Lord John Eussell 
explained to the House, that although at the end of April, 
and in the first days of May, he thought the Austrian pro- 


positions might have been assented to, he did not consider 
that they could now, after the events and proceedings which 
have since occurred, form the foundation of a satisfactory 
peace. Neither the House nor the public showed any disposi 
tion to accept the statement in mitigation of their dis 
pleasure at the position in which they found themselves 
placed, before their adversary and Europe, of carrying on a 
war, condemned by a leading member of the executive 
government. The explanation was generally regarded only as 
making bad worse. Indeed, such was the prevailing excite 
ment, that the stability of the Ministry was in danger, a 
danger so imminent, that it was even doubtful if the re 
signation of Lord John Russell could avert it. To himself 
it must have been apparent that his continuance in office 
could only embarrass and endanger his colleagues ; and on 
the 13th he placed his resignation in Lord Palmerston s 
hands. On the 16th, the day appointed for the discussion of 
Sir E. B. Lytton s motion, Lord John Russell himself an 
nounced to the House that he was no longer a Minister. 
The danger was averted. Public distrust was appeased, 
for by this time it was well ascertained, that Lord John 
Russell had stood alone in his views, and Sir E. B. Lytton 
withdrew his motion with the general approval of the House. 

Even the opponents of the Government must have rejoiced 
at this result. These were not times to allow party or personal 
feelings to predominate in the national councils. The words 
of the Prince s Trinity House speech, recommending unity 
of action, had sunk into men s minds, and were probably 
not without effect in tempering the tactics of the Opposition. 
He seems, however, from the following passage in a letter 
to Baron Stockmar from Osborne, on the 16th. to have felt 
uncertain down to the last as to the fate of the Ministry. 

After announcing to the old physician that Princess Louise, 
and the Princes Arthur and Leopold, had been seized with 

x 2 

3 o8 MR. ROEBUCK S MOTION. 1855 

scarlet fever, and telling him of all that had been done to 
isolate them, to prevent the infection from spreading, more 
especially to the children of the King of the Belgians, who, 
along with their father, were then the Queen s guests at 
Osborne, the Prince continues : 

In politics also we have fresh causes for uneasiness at 
home. Lord John is compromised by Count Buol s publi 
cation, on account of the expressions which he made use of 
at Vienna, as to which questions have been put to him in the 
House of Commons, where he has roused so much indignation 
by his answers, that all parties have combined to upset the 
Ministry. He has resigned ; but it still remains to be seen 
whether the excitement of parties will be appeased by the 
sacrifice. . . . To-day the debate commences on a motion by 
Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton of want of confidence. 

Next day Mr. Koebuck brought forward a motion, founded 
on the report of his Committee of Inquiry, for a vote of 
censure on Lord Aberdeen s Ministry, as the cause of the 
sufferings of our army during the winter campaign in the 
Crimea. The feeling of the public as to those whom they 
had at one time regarded as the authors of those calamities, 
had by this time become greatly modified. It had run into 
other channels bitterness against the members of Lord 
Aberdeen s Ministry, who were now in the same ranks 
with the Peace party and a determination not to pursue 
vindictively the men who had done their best to grapple 
with a defective system and with unforeseen emergencies, 
but to turn the sad experiences of the war to account by 
avoiding the errors from which they had sprung. The past 
could not be mended, best leave it alone, was, in a word, 
the prevailing sentiment. It was expressed by General Peel, 
when he moved 6 the previous question, an amendment which 
the House adopted, after two nights of debate, by a majority 
of 107 in a House of 471 members. 


The very next night, however, the Government narrowly 
escaped a serious defeat. By a Convention concluded with 
Turkey on the 26th of June, the Governments of France and 
England undertook to guarantee the payment of the interest 
of a loan of 5,000,000. to Turkey. The French Chambers 
had already sanctioned this Convention, but the Eesolutions 
introduced with a similar object by Lord Palmerston on the 
20th of July met with an opposition as determined as it was 
unexpected. The money was absolutely necessary to enable 
the Porte to bear its share of the costs of the war ; but without 
the guarantee proposed there was no chance of its being 
raised. To have repudiated the transaction would have been 
an outrage to our Allies, who might well have shrunk from 
further co-operation with an Executive, whose most solemn 
engagements were liable to be rendered nugatory by a Par 
liamentary vote. What stronger confirmation could have 
been given of the difficulties of a constitutional government 
than the possibility of such a result ? And yet the Resolu 
tions were only carried by a majority of three, the numbers 
being 135 to 132. On reflection many of those who had 
voted in the minority saw that they had made a mistake, and 
the Bill to give effect to the Resolutions was passed without 
further opposition. 

In writing to Baron Stockmar on the 25th of July, the 
Prince speaks of this -critical incident thus : 

c After Lord John s embarrassing escapade, the Peelites 
got into a fresh scrape by suddenly combining with all the 
fractions of the Opposition in an attempt to upset the 
Turkish loan. The Ministry scraped through with a majority 
of three I ! otherwise the treaty which had been concluded, 
and already ratified, with Turkey and France, would have 
been broken and flung overboard. All " for a more vigorous 
prosecution of the war," so runs the talk. 

The subject of peace or war was again brought before the 


House on the 30th of July by Mr. Laing, in moving for 
further papers relative to the Vienna Conferences. The 
debate was chiefly remarkable for a powerful speech by Mr. 
Gladstone, strongly marked by Kussian sympathies, in sup 
port of the Austrian proposals, and in which the position of 
the Allies was depicted in the most unfavourable colours, and 
the continuance of the war urgently deprecated. The debate 
dropped without a division ; but upon the 7th of August 
Lord John Kussell, on the third reading of the Consolidated 
Fund Appropriation Bill, took occasion to revive the subject 
by a long speech on the prospects of the war, the probabilities 
of peace, and the position of the Continental States. To 
this speech Lord Palmerston replied, and while expressing 
the determination of his Government to give effect to the 
wishes of the country and to compel a satisfactory peace by 
an unflinching prosecution of the Avar, he alluded to the 
position taken up by Mr. Gladstone in his recent speech in 
the following terms : 

No man could have been a party to entering into the great con 
test in which we are engaged no man, at least, ought to have been 
a party to such a course of policy without having deeply 
weighed the gravity of the struggle into which he was about to 
plunge the country, and without having satisfied his mind that 
the cause was just, that the motives were sufficient, and that 
the sacrifices which he was calling upon the country to make 
were such as a statesman might consider it ought to endure. 
Sir, there must indeed be grave reasons which could induce a 
man who had been a party with Her Majesty s Government 
to that line of policy, who had assisted in conducting the war, 
who had, after full and, perhaps, unexampled deliberation, agreed 
to enter upon the war, who, having concurred after that full and 
mature deliberation in the commencement of the war, had also 
joined in calling upon the country for great sacrifices in order 
to continue it, and who had, up to a very recent period, assented 
to all the measures proposed for its continuance ; I say, there 
must, indeed, be grave reasons which could induce a man, who had 


been so far a party to the measures of the Government, utterly 
to change his opinions, to declare this war unnecessary, unjust, 
and impolitic, to set before the country all the imaginary disasters 
with which his fancy could supply him, and to magnify and ex 
aggerate the force of the enemy and the difficulties of our posi 

In this part of Lord Palmerston s speech he struck a note 
which wakened a lively response both in the House and in the 
country. Nor was he less sure of their sympathy, when in 
referring to the argument used by some of the Peace party, 
that Turkey had herself been satisfied with the Austrian 
proposals, he said, that the objects for which the war was 
undertaken were far too wide and important to depend solely 
upon the decision of the Turkish Government. The pro 
tection of Turkey was one of these objects, but only one, and 
not for the sake of Turkey merely, but as a means to an end. 
Beyond the mere question of the defence of Turkey, was the 
larger object of repressing the grasping ambition of Russia; 
an ambition, he continued, which aims at the moral and 
physical subjugation of the Continent of Europe, and the 
extinction of those principles of political and commercial 
liberty upon which the independent existence of the king 
doms of Europe must mainly depend. The Governments 
of England and France, therefore, had, in his view, as great, 
and perhaps a greater interest, in the question what the 
terms of peace should be, than the Government of Turkey 

On the 14th of August Parliament was prorogued by 
Commission. The session had not been altogether barren 
of measures of importance. The first of the Acts for regu 
lating the local government of the metropolis, and fo* the 
establishment of Joint Stock companies with limited liability, 
were passed. Measures were also passed for improving the 
Constitutions of New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania, 


and the stamp duty on newspapers was abolished. In the 
Queen s Speech the French alliance was dwelt upon with 
marked emphasis. Her Majesty trusts, it said, 4 that an 
alliance founded on a sense of the general interests of Europe, 
and consolidated by good faith, will long survive the events 
which have given rise to it, and will contribute to the per 
manent well-being and prosperity of the two great nations, 
whom it has linked in the bonds of honourable friendship. 
This language was felt to be most appropriate, on the eve of 
the visit which the Queen and Prince were within the next 
few days to pay to the Emperor at Paris, and which was now 
being looked forward to on both sides of the Channel with 
the liveliest interest. 

The Emperor had wished that the visit should exceed 
considerably in length that which the Empress and himself 
had paid in England ; and had suggested a programme to 
fill up the time, the attractions of which were difficult to 
resist. But the visit had to be restricted to eight days, for 
reasons expressed in the following passage of a letter from 
Lord Clarendon to Lord Cowley (7th July) : 

The Emperor is, I believe, aware, that the Queen s life is one 
of incessant occupation and fatiguing business, but he may perhaps 
not know, that it is absolutely indispensable for her health to pass 
some weeks in Scotland, and to be invigorated by the mountain 
air. She cannot remain there after the first week in October, 
and she cannot this year arrive before the first week in September. 
I am sure, therefore, that consideration for Her Majesty will out 
weigh with the Emperor any feeling of disappointment he may 
entertain, that the Queen s visit will not be quite so long as he 
has kindly desired it should be. 

It was accordingly arranged that the visit should begin 
on Saturday the 18th and terminate on Monday the 27th of 

Before that time several important incidents in connec- 


tion with the war had taken place. The Baltic Fleet, under 
Rear-Admiral Dundas, after several minor operations, in 
concert with the French squadron addressed itself to the bom 
bardment of Sweaborg an operation which, for want of 
gunboats, Sir Charles ]N T apier had declined to hazard in 1854. 
On the morning of the 9th of August the bombardment was 
opened. Shot, shell, and rockets rained into the fortress from 
our gun and mortar boats, and the batteries which the French 
had established on one of the many neighbouring islands. 
The bombardment was continued with little intermission till 
four o clock on the morning of the llth, by which time it 
was computed, that no less than a thousand tons of shot and 
shell had been thrown into the place by the English alone. 
Finding the destruction of the stores and arsenals and every 
building of importance to be complete, the Admiral resolved 
to make no further attempt on the fortifications themselves, 
as this must have cost many lives, without any corresponding 
advantage, even if successful. As it was, he was able, when 
reporting to the Admiralty on the llth the success of his 
operations in the destruction of this important arsenal and 
dockyard, to add that few casualties had occurred, and that 
no lives had been lost in the Allied fleets. 

Since the repulse of the 18th of June before Sebastopol, 
the besiegers had been pushing forward their approaches with 
so much energy, that it was obvious to their adversaries 
that a decisive assault was imminent. On the 21st of July 
General Simpson, who had been confirmed in the command- 
in-chief as successor to Lord Raglan, reported to Lord Pan- 
mure, that his advanced trenches were within 200 yards of the 
Kedan, and could not be pushed farther. He at the same 
time said, that the Redan was now much stronger than it had 
been on the 16th of June, and that any direct attack upon 
it must fail. A combined attack by French and English on 
the Malakoff, he added, was in his opinion the only feasible 


project, that being the key of the position, and at the 
same time presenting fewer obstacles to an attack. The 
daily losses in the trenches were so heavy, that the assault 
could not be much longer delayed. All were therefore look 
ing forward to the moment when General Pelissier should 
declare his readiness for the assault. 

The information which reached us as to the condition of 
the Eussian forces showed, that their supplies of food and 
ammunition were beginning to fail. But we also learned, 
that the whole military resources of the country were being 
concentrated on the Crimea, with a view to some supreme 
effort. Men without end, it was said, were being sent 
thither as reserves, and a great blow would shortly be struck 
at the besieging forces. That Prince Grortschakoff had not 
attacked them before, it was reported on high authority, 
was because he had not hitherto had sufficient men. Now 
everything he could desire had been placed at his disposal 
for carrying out his plan of bringing an overwhelming force 
against the Allies, and the numbers at his command were said 
to be so great, that it was thought they must bear down any 
resistance. Experience of former encounters had taught us 
to fear little from superior numbers. And while we were 
thus warned to anticipate an overwhelming onslaught by the 
Eussian army of reserve, we were encouraged to regard the 
reports with less apprehension, by knowing at what a fright 
ful sacrifice of life the enemy was bringing up the hordes on 
which he relied so confidently to destroy us. The route 
from Sebastopol to Simpheropol, it was ascertained upon the 
authority of a Eussian eye-witness, speaking at St. Peters 
burg, was already so encumbered with dead bodies, dead 
horses and dead cattle, that the whole line was infected with 
pestilential vapours, was impassable for vehicles, and could 
only be traversed on horseback. 

The threatened blow was struck on the 1 6th of August at 


what is now known as the Battle of the Tschernaja. The 
attack on the position of the Allies on that river was planned 
at St. Petersburg, and it had been looked forward to there as 
certain to result in the raising of the siege. From fifty to 
sixty thousand Eussians were engaged in it. The brunt of 
the attack had to be borne by the French, and they threw it 
back with a firmness and vigour on which the weight of the 
Eussian columns could make no impression. The battle, 
which had begun while the mists of the dawn hung heavily 
upon the valley of the Tschernaja, had been decided by 9 A.M., 
by which time it had become obvious, that the Eussians were 
in full retreat. The French loss in killed was comparatively 
small. The loss of the Eussians was estimated at about 
3,000 killed, and 5,000 wounded. Four hundred prisoners 
were taken. On the bodies of the dead were found four 
days rations, but no water, so confident had their leaders 
been of securing their hold upon the Tschernaja. The men 
dead in the field, General Bernard wrote to Colonel Phipps 
(18th August), looked worn and miserable; the Grenadiers of 
the Guard were there, men 6 feet 4 ! and well dressed, but 
thin and worn also. The generality were men .... badly 
clothed, and badly fed, many very young. All this told a 
tale of exhaustion, which gave fresh encouragement to the 
Allies. The annihilation of the stores on the Sea of Azoff 
had begun to tell. If the forces already on the spot bore 
such evident marks of being badly fed, there was little to be 
apprehended from any further reinforcements of men which 
Eussia might be able to send to the front, as they must 
increase the embarrassment of the enemy from the already 
failing supplies of provisions. 

The brilliant success of the French on the Tschernaja 
came most opportunely to stimulate the feelings of their 
countrymen at home in favour of the prosecution of the war. 
Some such stimulus was needed. The war had appealed to 


no French national sentiment, it offered no palpable material 
gain, it inspired no popular enthusiasm. It had already 
involved large sacrifices in men and money, and a peace, 
which might secure the balance of power in Europe, but gave 
France not an inch of additional territory, offered but a sorry 
premium for further drains on the national resources. The 
current talk in the higher circles in Paris was, that France 
was merely playing the game of England, and those in whom 
the old jealousies of this country still lingered saw, not with 
out chagrin, that we were so rapidly redeeming the defects 
of our system, which had drawn upon us so much contemp 
tuous obloquy some months before, as a nation whose fighting 
powers were used up, that our superiority in all the qualities 
necessary for success in the field was likely before long to 
become established beyond all question. It was said at this 
time by one of the best informed politicians in France, that 
the facts which appeared in official reports and private cor 
respondence, compelled their statesmen to acknowledge that 
English officers were superior to their own in practical 
ability, in military coup-d ceil, in sagacity and foresight. 
They have better understood the nature of the dangers to be 
met, and the means to overcome them. England, it was 
added, will come out of this war with a perfect military or 
ganisation, and with a formidable army. She will be in 
debted for this to the French Alliance. There is wisdom 
and foresight on our part ! We are wide awake to this fact. 
We know the tough mettle of F^nglish statesmen. They 
will find the way to repair the errors into which they have 
been led by false systems of economy ; and in proof of this, 
we see the House of Commons, despite the persevering inter 
ference of the Opposition, refusing the Government nothing 
they ask for. The war, beyond all doubt, will augment 
England s strength and influence both abroad and at home. 
Such being the prevalent tone of opinion in Paris, the 


success of the Tschernaja was manifestly well timed, both 
for strengthening the Emperor s hands in carrying on the 
war against the manifold influences which were at work to 
shake his resolution, and as a prelude to the arrival in France 
of the English Queen. No English Sovereign had set foot 
within Paris since Henry VI., and he had come there claiming 
to be its king, and not, as now, to knit more closely the bonds 
of an alliance necessary to the repose of Europe. There were, 
it is true, Frenchmen high in position who predicted, that no 
such reception would await our Queen in Paris as had greeted 
the Emperor and Empress in London. Such show of welcome 
as might be given would be organised, not spontaneous. No 
enthusiasm would be awakened. The Legitimists would 
look coldly on a visit, which would give prestige and 
stability to the Emperor. The Orleanists, embittered at the 
cordiality of an alliance with one whom they regarded as an 
usurper, an alliance more close, more truly cordial, than that 
which Louis Philippe had affected to cement, would take care 
to mark their estrangement by holding aloof from every de 
monstration of welcome. The mass of the Parisians, on the 
other hand, were said so have become too much absorbed in 
the pursuit of gain to set a value on whatever dignity might 
l)e added to their country by the friendly visit of the English 
Sovereign ; while the extreme Democrats would show no 
honour to the guests, however illustrious, of the Man of 

Such were the predictions current in many influential 
quarters as to the probable failure of the visit of the Queen 
and Prince to France. How completely they were falsified 
will presently be shown. 


EVEN in his busiest times the Prince seems generally to have 
made leisure to keep up his correspondence with Baron 
Stockmar. But such was the pressure upon him at this 
time, that he did not write to him for nearly a month, 
although he knew how anxious his old friend would be for 
tidings from himself, not merely about public affairs, but 
about the progress of the Royal children, four in number, 
who had been attacked by scarlet fever. On the 4th of 
August the Prince was able to announce to him that, 
although the Princess Alice, who had caught the fever from 
her sister, was still a prisoner to her room, the Princess 
Louise and the Princes Arthur and Leopold were convales 
cent. The two elder children had escaped the infection, and 
were to accompany the Queen and Prince to Paris on the 
18th. The Prince adds: 

6 1 often think of your illustration of the peasant who 
wants to wait till the river runs by before he crosses. 1 This 
is what happens with my wish to write to you, and to find 
a quiet morning for doing so. Only yesterday the King of 
Portugal arrived with his suite, and he establishes a claim 
upon the day, which is already heavily forestalled. He lives 
on board our new yacht, so as to keep clear of infection in 
the house, and we interchange visits by boat. They are 
well, and Pedro is much and earnestly engrossed with his 

1 Rusticus expectat dum dcfluat amnis ; at ille 
Labititr et labctur in omne volnbilis avion. Horace, Epist. i. 2. 


future great and difficult vocation. I counsel him to sepa 
rate everything that is merely personal from what is essential, 
and to concern himself only with the latter. All the mis 
fortunes of Portugal have arisen from dealing exclusively 
with the former. 

In the same letter, written before the Russian defeat on 
the Tschernaja had materially altered the aspect of affairs 
at Sebastopol, he says : 

In the Crimea no progress is making, and another winter 
stares us in the face, This was the opinion of many officers 
on the spot, who were in the best position for forming a 
judgment. 2 Whether we were to remain there as besiegers 
or as masters of Sebastopol, was a problem of which they did 
not at this time venture to forecast the solution. Their 
hopes began to rise soon afterwards, as symptoms of ex 
haustion, and of preparations for a retreat to the south side 
of the harbour, began to become apparent in the Russian 

The aspect of affairs, as we have seen, had brightened 
considerably before the day appointed for the arrival in 
Paris of the Queen and Prince. He seized his first spare 
moment after his arrival there to let Baron Stockmar know, 
that all had gone off well up to this point. On the morning 
of the 19th he writes to the Baron from St. Cloud : 

I avail myself of the first disengaged moment to send 
you tidings of us from St. Cloud. We arrived here yesterday 
evening at half-past eight, and met with a splendid and 
enthusiastic reception in Paris. I leave description to the 
papers, whose metier it is, and only tell you that we are all 
well, that we found the Emperor in high spirits, the Empress 

2 The dark prospect of another winter looms before us. It must be looked 
in the face, but it is a precious ugly thing to look at. Letter from General 
Codrington to Sir George Brown, July 27, 1855, of which there is a copy 
among the Prince s papers. 


in expectation of an heir and suffering, the nation flattered 
and friendly. The destruction of Sweaborg, the success of 
Riga, and the defeat of the Russians on the Tschernaja, have 
contributed to put people on all sides into good humour. 
Bertie, Vicky, Ladies Ely and Churchill, Misses Bulteel and 
Hildyard, Lords Clarendon, Breadalbane, and Abercorn, 
Phipps, Grey, Biddulph, Clark, Gribbs and Alfred Paget, make 
up our party. To-day is Sunday repose (!) and English 
Church service. To-morrow the Parisian campaign begins. 

In recounting the leading features of the visit to the 
French capital, we* are again enabled to avail ourselves of 
the Diary of the Queen, who felt naturally prompted to pre 
serve a record under her own hands of an historical event of 
so much interest and importance. Starting from Osborne 
at five on the morning of the 18th, the Royal yacht, Victoria 
and Albert, which had just been completed, reached Boulogne 
about half-past one, and advanced slowly up to the harbour 
amid the cheers of the crowd upon the long pier, which was 
lined throughout with troops. On the quay stood the Em 
peror, surrounded by a brilliant retinue, under a broiling 
sun, while the tedious process of warping the huge vessel to 
the shore was carried out. At length the bridge was 
adjusted. The Emperor stepped across, and I met him 
half-way, and embraced him twice ; after which he led me 
on shore amidst acclamations, salutes, and every sound of 
joy and respect. We four [the Queen, Prince, Prince of 
Wales, and Princess Royal] entered a landau carriage, and 
drove through the crowded and decorated streets, the Empe 
ror escorting us himself on horseback, to the railway- 
station, which was thronged with an enthusiastic crowd, 
largely composed of ladies. 

Brief halts were made at Abbeville and Amiens, where the 
same crowds and the same eager welcome awaited the Royal 
visitors. The beauty of the country between Amiens and 


Paris arrested the Queen s attention ; but by this time the 
sun got lower, and the Emperor became very anxious we 
should reach Paris. ... At length we passed St. Leu, Mont- 
morency both charmingly situated then got a glimpse of 
Montmartre, my first sight of Paris .... and at last we 
passed the fortifications and Paris opened upon us. . . . We 
at length entered the Gare du Chemin de Fer de Strasbourg, 
which was lit up and beautifully decorated, lined with troops, 
and filled with people ; Prince Napoleon, Marechal Magnan, 
General Lowestein commanding the Garde Nationale. The 
coup-d ceil, as we proceeded to our carriage, was mag 

Paris was en fete, and what that means in a city so favour 
able for festal effects, need not be said. The inhabitants 
had belied the anticipations to which we referred in the last 
chapter, by doing everything that taste and good feeling 
could suggest to mark the sincerity of their welcome. 
Imagine, the Royal Diary continues, this beautiful city, with 
its broad streets and lofty houses, decorated in the most 
tasteful manner possible, with banners, flags, arches, flowers, 
inscriptions, and finally illuminations, full of people, lined 
with troops, National Guards, and troops of the Line and 
Chasseurs d Afrique, beautifully kept, and most enthusiastic ! 
And yet this gives but a faint notion of this triumph, as it 
was. There were endless cries of " Vive la Reine d^ Angle- 
terre ! " " Vive I Empereur ! " " Vive le Prince Albert ! " 
The approaching twilight rather added to the beauty of the* 
scene ; and it was still quite light enough when we passed 
down the new Boulevard de Strasbourg (the Emperor s crea 
tion), and along the Boulevards, by the Porte St. Denis, the 
Madeleine, the Place de la Concorde, and the Arc de Tri- 
omphe de 1 Etoile. Here the light failed, as the Royal 
cortege pursued its way through the Bois de Boulogne to St. 
Cloud. Troops, with their bands playing God save the 



Queen, lined the whole route from the railway to the Palace, 
artillery, cavalry, Cent-Gardes (who are splendid), and last, 
but not least, to my great delight, at the Bridge of Boulogne 
near the village and Palace of St. Cloud, the Zouaves, 
splendid troops in splendid dress, the friends of my dear 

In all this blaze of light from lamps and torches, amidst 
the roar of cannon, and bands, and drums, and cheers, we 
reached the Palace. The Empress, with Princess Mathilde 
and the ladies, received us at the door, and took us up a 
beautiful staircase, lined with the splendid Cent-Gardes, who 
are magnificent men, very like our Life Guards. . . . We 
went through the rooms at once to our own, which are charm 
ing. ... I felt quite bewildered, but enchanted; . . . . 
everything is so beautiful ! 

What is said by the Queen of the beauty of the Palace is 
interesting now that it has been battered and burnt into 
irretrievable ruin. The saloons are splendid, all en suite ; 
they, as well as the courtyard, staircase, &c., remind me of 
Briihl. The ceilings are beautifully painted and the walls 
hung with Gobelins. The Salle de Mars is a very noble room 
and opens into the fine long gallery called La Salle de Diane., 
in which we dined. The room was terribly hot, for the table 
was covered with wax-lights, which quite dazzled me. Every 
thing was magnificent, and all very quiet, and royal. . . . 
Everybody most civil and kind. Marechal Magnan told me 
that such enthusiasm as we had witnessed had not been 
known in Paris, not even in the time of the Emperor Napo 
leon s triumphs ; and General Lowestein said, that all France 
would have come if there had been time. The National 
Guard were particularly civil and friendly. All regretted our 
arriving so late. 

4 Sunday, 19th August. Awoke to admire our lovely room. 
The whole suite was no less charming. Some of the rooms 

i855 SUNDAY AT ST. CLOUD. 323 

commanded a fine view of Paris, others looked out on the 
garden, with its fountains and beautiful long avenues of 
beech-trees, its orange-trees, and very fine and brilliant 
flowers. After breakfast came a drive with the Emperor in 
the park, which, with its endless shady avenues, its beautiful 
foliage, and charming glimpses of country, has still happily 
survived the ravages of the siege of 1871 and the worse fury 
of the Communists. We passed Villeneuve VEtang, the 
little villa which the Emperor has bought, with the sur 
rounding ground and park, and which he tries to make as 
English and as private as possible, longing to get away from 
etiquette and restraint. . . . The Emperor was most amiable 
and kind, and talked of all sorts of things. He is much 
pleased at the good news from the Crimea. 

The English service was read in one of the rooms of the 
Palace by the chaplain of the Embassy ; and in the after 
noon the Queen and Prince drove with the Emperor and 
Empress to the Bois de Boulogne, which had recently been 
transformed by the Emperor into the beautiful park which 
it now is. Albert is quite astonished at it, and says the 
improvements which have been made in it are wonderful. 
In the course of the drive, hearing me express a wish to know 
where Neuilly was, both the Emperor and Empress very 
amiably proposed to take us there. Accordingly they did so, 
going by several pretty country houses, through the very 
small dirty village of Neuilly into the gates, where two 
pavilions remain all in ruins, with broken windows, grass 
growing in the walks, altogether a most melancholy picture 
of decay. Albert remembered it all so well. We returned 
by the banks of the Seine, which are very pretty, and remind 
one of Eichmond. ... A great many people cheering every 
where. . . . 

A large dinner-party. General Canrobert, only just 
returned from the trenches "j etais dans ies tranchees" he 

T 2 


said, " il y a quinze jours " was the principal addition. He sat 
next to me. I was delighted with him, such an honest, good 
man, so sincere and friendly, and so fond of the English, very 
enthusiastic, talking with much gesticulation. He is short, 
and wears his hair, which is black, rather long behind, has a 
red face and rolling eyes, moustaches, and no whiskers, and 
carries his head rather high. He praised our troops im 
mensely, spoke of the great difficulty of the undertaking, the 
sufferings we had all undergone, the mistakes which had been 
made, and most kindly of our generals and troops. I said I 
looked upon him as an old acquaintance, from having heard 
so much of him. He said, " Je suis presque un sujet de 
votre Majeste" from being a member of the Fishmongers 
Company. Speaking of poor Lord Eagian he said, " C etait 
un noble gentleman, quenous avons beaucoup regrette," and 
of the 1 8th of June, " Cela a tue le pauvre milord" 

Her Majesty might truly speak of General Canrobert as an 
old acquaintance, for, like the Prince, not a detail of the war 
escaped her notice. Every despatch from the camp, every 
weekly return made upon the model suggested by the Prince 
which reached the Government, were read by them both, and 
copies carefully preserved. Plans showing every addition to 
the trenches were sent regularly for Her Majesty s use, so that 
the exact position of affairs before Sebastopol was as well 
known in Her Majesty s working room, as it was at the head 
quarters of the Commander-in-chief. General Canrobert was, 
no doubt, surprised at the minute accuracy of Her Majesty s 
information. He told Lord Clarendon that he had talked 
to many people, military and civil, but to none so thoroughly 
well informed about the Crimea, the siege, and the armies, as 
Her Majesty. 3 

Monday, 20th August. A lovely morning, pleasant air, 

3 Our authority for this statement is a letter of Lord Clarendon s, dated 
31st August, 1855. 


with a bright sun, and the delicious fountains playing. 
Further satisfactory accounts from the Crimea. . . . The 
Emperor came to fetch us to breakfast as before. The coffee 
quite excellent, and all the cookery very plain and very good. 
For breakfast and luncheon we have a small round table, as at 
home. . . . The servants very quiet and attentive. At a 
quarter before ten we started for Paris with all our suite. 
The Emperor has pretty barouches, rather smaller than ours, 
and bay horses harnessed just like ours; the livery dark 
.green, black and gold, with red and gold waistcoats. 

The first place visited was the Exposition des Beaux 
Arts, which adjoined the Palais d Industrie in the Champs 
Elysees. The unexampled collection of paintings illustrative 
of all the modern schools, which must always be remembered 
with vivid delight by all who had the privilege of seeing it, 
was gone through. The enthusiasm was very great, both at 
the Exposition, and in the densely crowded streets, and the 
cries of " Vive I Empereur /" " Vive la Reine d Angleterre /" 
were very constant and gratifying. I was of course always at 
the Emperor s arm. 

From the Exposition the Koyal party went to the Elysee, 
where, after luncheon, the whole corps diplomatique, with 
their wives, were presented to the Queen, the Emperor mean 
while himself driving the Prince of Wales in a curricle 
through Paris, not the least interesting incident, the Queen 
writes, in this most eventful, interesting, and delightful 
visit. Later in the day, the Emperor accompanied his 
guests in an open carriage to the Sainte Chapelle, and to the 
Palais de Justice, which gave Her Majesty an opportunity of 
seeing by the way some of the most striking features of the 
city. In crossing the Pont au Change, you see the Con- 
ciergerie, and the Emperor, pointing to it, said, " Voila OIL 
fetais en prison ! " Strange contrast to be driving with us 
as Emperor through the streets of the city in triumph ! 


Notre Dame and the Hotel de Ville were next visited, and 
after making the circuit of the Boulevards, and traversing the 
Champs Elysees, and the Bois de Boulogne, St. Cloud was 
reached about six o clock. No one, says the Queen, after 
recording the proceedings of the day, can be kinder or more 
agreeable than is the Emperor, and so quiet, which is a 
comfort on all, but particularly on such occasions. 

6 The view from our rooms and balcony, of Paris, lit up by 
the evening light, with the Arc de Triomphe rising con 
spicuously in the distance, had a marvellous effect. I sat 
drawing on the balcony, and took a little sketch of the very 
pretty avenue which leads clown into the town. Found after 
wards Canrobert with Albert, who told us much that was 
very interesting, in fact quite touching, about his own posi 
tion, and his feeling towards Lord Raglan. I gave him the 
Order of the Bath, and with real pleasure. 

In the evening there was a theatrical performance in the 
Palace of the Demoiselles de St. Cyr, with Regnier and 
Mdlle. Brohan in the principal parts, the ensemble perfect. 
After the play, says our record, we returned to the rooms 
upstairs, and stopped in the Salle de Mars, where every 
body passed by, the Empress presenting each in passing. 
We afterwards went for a moment into the Salle de Diane, 
where the refreshments were, and thence to our rooms, to 
which the Emperor and Empress, preceded by their gentle 
men, always take us. The night was delightfully warm, and 
we stepped out on the balcony to watch the carriages going 

6 Tuesday, 2lst August. At half-past ten we started for 
Versailles in many carriages, en poste. We passed by Ville 
d Avray, a pretty village, with many villas about it. It was 
decorated with wreaths, &c., the people out everywhere and 
very friendly. At nearly every village there were troops, or 
National Guards, and always some gendarmes in their 


handsome dress. We reached Versailles in rather more than 
half an hour. After visiting the vast series of galleries and 
apartments, which brought to mind so much of the history 
of France, with its many strange and dark events. ... we 
drove about the curious old-fashioned gardens, to see the 
waterworks, which are wonderful and endless. The effect of 
the innumerable jets-d eau, with the bright sunshine, the 
bands (of which there were four) playing, the multitude of 
people, and the numerous equipages going in and out of the 
small avenues, and winding along the bassins, was very 

4 From here we drove to the Grand Trianon, and the 
small palace, with rooms on the ground-floor where Marie 
Antoinette used to live, and from the windows of which the 
view is beautiful. The Emperor showed me the room and 
bed (it had belonged to Napoleon) which had been prepared 
for us by poor Louis Philippe, when he expected us to visit 
Paris, and the sedan-chair of Madame de Maintenon, by the 
side of which, according to St. Simon, Louis XIV. used so 
often to walk ; also the pretty little chapel (excessively small) 
where poor Marie [Louis Philippe s daughter] was married to 
Alexander of Wiirtemberg in 1838. 

The Petit Trianon was next visited, and all its associations 
with Marie Antoinette were recalled. Here the Empress 
joined the party for luncheon in one of the largest of the 
many cottages. Everywhere everything is ready; rooms 
prepared for us, and all just as if one were living there. The 
furniture (which I believe comes from the Garde Meuble) was 
frequently of that period of the Empire qui a un cachet tout 
particulier, and of which Mama had much at Kensington, so 
that I recognised in many places old acquaintances in 
bureaux, mirrors, tables, presses, &c., also counterparts to 
things which we have at Windsor, in china, and in furniture 
of the time of Louis XV. and Louis XVI. . . After 


luncheon we sat for some time under the trees listening to 
the fine band of the Guides, and I made some sketches. The 
sun shining through the trees on the band, the ladies and 
gentlemen, the escort (Carabiniers of the Guard) and the 
postilions and horses, with the music, and the occasional 
tinkling of the bells of the horses of the chaises de poste, 
made the prettiest effect possible. At a little after three we 
started again for St. Cloud, I driving in a phaeton with the 
Empress. . . . There were crowds all along the road ; the 
sun was intensely hot, and there was a great deal of dust. . . . 
The view of Paris from our windows this evening was again 
beautiful. The air is so light and clear, and so free from our 
baneful coal smoke, that objects, even at the greatest 
distance, are seen quite distinctly. 

After dining quietly alone with the Emperor, hosts and 
guests started at a quarter to seven for Paris on a state visit 
to the Grand Opera in the Rue Lepelletier. Paris was 
brilliantly illuminated, and with the greatest taste. Under 
one of the triumphal arches was a lustre of lamps, which was 
extremely handsome. The streets were full of people cheer 
ing. The Garde de Paris lined the staircase of the Opera 
House, and at the top of the staircase in the vestibule were 
my favourite Cent-Gardes. The box was arranged in the 
centre of the House just as when we go to the Opera in 
state, two Cent-Gardes standing where the yeomen stand, 
on either side of the box, and two upon the stage. The 
theatre is handsome, and was full of people, and the reception 
very hearty. The performance consisted of selections of airs, 
duets, &c., from different operas, sung in costume, pronounced 
to be " not a very happy arrangement," and a long, too long 
ballet, in three acts, with Rosati as the principal dancer. 
The scene then changed, and a view of Windsor, with the 
Emperor s arrival there, appeared, and " God save the Queen " 
was sung splendidly, and most enthusiastically cheered ; there 


could not have been more enthusiasm in England. We re 
turned home at half-past twelve. . . . The Emperor was very 
cheerful, and repeated with Albert all sorts of old German 
songs, and Albert repeated some to him. He is very fond of 
Germany, and his old recollections of it, and there is much 
that is German, and very little in fact, nothing markedly 
French in his character. 

4 Wednesday , 2 2nd August. Another splendid day ! Most 
truly do the heavens favour and smile upon this happy 
Alliance, for when the Emperor was in England in April 
the weather was beautiful. Despatches (telegraphic) from 
General Simpson, saying that they had begun a vertical fire, 
which was taking good effect. The Emperor is full of 
anxiety and regret about the campaign. Ten thousand 
shells have been thrown into the town within the last few 
days, and they are in want of more ! 

The early part of the day was devoted to a visit to the Expo- 
sition,\)u.t only that part of it was examined which occupied the 
ground-floor. To accomplish so much, where the objects of in 
terest were so diversified and so numerous, was a task involv 
ing no ordinary fatigue. England and the Colonies, it is 
noted, make a very fine show, and our china pleases very 
much. This, indeed, more than any other of our manufac 
tures, marked the strides we had made since the French por 
celain and faience in the Great Exhibition of 1851 had shown 
us what could be done in this direction. In the application 
of the potter s art to domestic uses, we were admitted to have 
established a supremacy, which has not since been shaken. 
The Emperor, continues our record, gave Albert a spendid 
vase of Sevres manufacture, representing the Exhibition of 
1851, which he said was particularly intended for Albert, as 
to him that Exhibition was due. Albert was much pleased, 
for it is a ckef-d ceuvre in every sense of the word. There 
are numbers of beautiful things in the Exhibition of all 

330 AT THE TU1LERIES. 1855 

kinds many which I recognise from the London and Dublin 

From the Exposition the Emperor drove with his guests 
to the Tuileries, now like St. Cloud charred and in ruins. 
The Emperor took us into his apartments up a short flight 
of steps which consist of a suite of rooms, six in number, 
opening one into the other .... In his bedroom are busts 
of his father and uncle, and an old glass case, which he had 
with him in England, containing relics of all sorts, that are 
peculiarly valuable to him. In some of the other rooms are 
portraits of Napoleon, Josephine, his own mother with his 
elder brother, and one of her with his brother and himself as 
little children. These were in the room, in which we lunched, 
which is used as a sitting-room. There is also here the 
cabinet on which Louis Philippe signed that fatal abdication. 
The Emperor took us up by a small private staircase to 
the Empress s rooms, and thence into a room where I 
received the Prefet and the Municipality, who came to in 
vite us to the ball at the Hotel de Ville, and wished to read 
an address, which the Emperor stopped. I answered that I 
would go to the ball with pleasure, and that I had been 
deeply moved by the reception which I had met with in 
France, which I should never forget. The Prefet then asked 
whether they might call the new street leading to the Hotel 
de Ville after me, on which I said " Je serai bien flattee 
de cela " then turning towards the Emperor, " si PEmpereur 
le permet" on which he cordially gave his consent. I then 
observed upon the beauty of the city, and all that the Em 
peror had done for it. Some hours were spent in examining 
the splendid state rooms of the Palace. Then after a visit 
to the British Embassy, the Queen and Prince went to the 
Elysee, from which they started on a drive through Paris 
incognito, 6 with considerable tribulation. The Emperor was 
much amused at our project, and directed where we were to 


go. We got into a remise; I and Miss Bulteel, having 
put on common bonnets, I with a black veil down, and a 
black mantilla. We sat together, while Albert, and Vicky, 
(who had also a bonnet and mantilla which we sent for in a 
hurry,) sat backwards. In going through the gates, the 
curious crowd looked very hard into the carriage, which 
stopped for a moment, and we felt very foolish. However, 
we got away, and by help of my veil I was able to look out, 
and we took a charming long drive by the Rue de Rivoli, 
Rue de Castiglione, Place Vendome, Rue de la Paix, all 
along the Boulevards des Capucines, des Italiens, Montmartre, 
Poissonniere, Bonne-Xotivelle, St. Denis, St. Martin, du 
Temple, des Filles-du-Calvaire and Beaumarchais, then by 
the Place de la Bastille (where stands the Colonne de Juillet), 
the Boulevard Bourdon, Place Mazas, over the Pont d Auster- 
litz, where we had a beautiful view up and down the river, 
and along the Quais, everything there looking so light, and 
white, and bright, with great numbers of people and soldiers 
in bright colours, marchands de coco, &c., people sitting and 
drinking before the houses, all so foreign and southern-look 
ing to my eyes, and so gay. We then drove along the Place 
Walhubert, to the Jardin des Plantes, then by the Marche- 
aux-Fleurs (very pretty along the Quai), Halle-aux-Vins (a 
number of curious little houses in a sort of garden), Quai de 
la Tournelle, Quai Montebello, Quai St. Michel, then across 
the Pont au Change, opposite the old Tower of St.vTacques, 
and by the Quai de la Megisserie, Quai de 1 Ecole, Quai 
du Louvre, back to the Tuileries safely, and without being 
known, at twenty minutes to six. We found the Emperor 
in the drawing-room below stairs. We changed our bonnets, 
and immediately re-entered the open carriages to return to 
St. Cloud, where we arrived at near seven. 

A great dinner of eighty covers took place the same even 
ing. At dinner the Emperor came to speak of M. Drouyn 


de Lhuys, and of the strange part he had acted at Vienna, of 
his having been at first entirely for the war and the alliance, 
and then afterwards not so but having even insinuated, that 
France had not disliked to see Louis Philippe fall, on account 
of his alliance with England. " Je lui ai repondu" the 
Emperor continued, " Louis Philippe n est pas tombe a cause 
de son alliance avec VAngleterre, mais parce qu il rietait 
pas sincere avec I Angleterre." I replied, that I could not 
sufficiently express our appreciation of his great franchise ; 
that, if there was anything to complain of, or which he felt 
annoyed at, he should only speak out, and tell it to us, for 
that by doing so all misunderstandings and complications 
would be avoided. He said he only cared "pour les grandee 
choses ; " that he would not allow at the different courts a 
French party to be kept up against the English ; but that 
he had great difficulty in getting this old and bad habit 
broken through ; that with the war he had had great diffi 
culty in making people in France understand, that it was 
prosecuted for the interest of France, and not to please 
England. He was, therefore, peculiarly pleased and gra 
tified at the demonstrations of enthusiasm and joy amongst 
all classes on our arrival, as he could not have made them 
show this. 

A performance, in the theatre of the Palace, of the little 
play of Un Fits de Famille, with Bressant in the chief 
character, wound up this busy day. 

4 Thursday, 23rd August. .... Albert left directly after 
breakfast for Paris to see the Exposition. I walked a little 
about the garden close to the house, with Vicky alone, and 
saw the Emperor walking up one of the nearest avenues with 
Lord Clarendon. We walked down the other side of the 
house not far from the gate, where the Zouaves were doing 
duty, and I sketched them at a distance : their dress is charm 
ing. Early in the afternoon a visit was paid to the Louvre, 


and a flying glance taken at its multifarious treasures of art. 
Three hours and a half were all that could be spared for what 
it was felt might well have occupied many hours of every 
day for many weeks. To add to the fatigue, the heat was 
tropical, and at the doors of the Sculpture Gallery, as many a 
visitor there in summer has had occasion to notice, the heat 
rushed in as from a furnace. With the prospect of the ball 
at the Hotel de Ville the same evening, the Queen was com 
pelled to put a restraint on her wish to see more of the 
treasures of art everywhere around her. 

We got back to our rooms at seven. Rested a little. 
The band of the Guides was playing in the garden ; and I 
afterwards sat writing in the Empress s little sitting-room. 
The band made me feel wehmuthig and melancholy. All so 
gay, the people cheering the Emperor as he walked up and 
down in the little garden ; and yet how recently has blood 
flowed, a whole dynasty been swept away, and how uncertain 
is everything still ! All is so beautiful here, all seems now so 
prosperous, the Emperor seems so fit for his place, and yet 
how little security one feels for the future ! These reflec 
tions crowded on my mind, full as it was of joy and 
gratitude for all I saw, for all the kindness I had received ! 

We had a nice quite vertrauliches (cosy) little dinner 
with the Emperor. (The children went home to St. Cloud 
at seven, and were to go a little to the Empress in the 
evening.) We talked most cheerfully together, and he was 
in high spirits. We laughed much at a fine old-fashioned 
Imperial cafetiere, which would not let out the coffee in spite 
of all the attempts of the page to make it do so. We stood, 
and I thought at the time how very extraordinary it was, 
and how much had happened in these very Tuileries, with 
the Emperor, all three looking out of the window, which 
opened on the garden, the sound of music, of carriages, 
and people being heard in the distance, talking of past 


times. The Emperor said he knew Madame Campan, 
who had been one of the dressers of Marie Antoinette, and 
had brought up his mother, and though he could not 
recollect what she had related in person, he had studied her 
Memoirs. In these, he said, she told how the poor Queen, 
having been summoned to appear [before the National As 
sembly], had to walk through Paris on foot, that she had 
herself lived in constant dread of what would happen, and 
what a hair-breadth escape she had had, when the mob as 
cended the stairs, killed the Heyduc in attendance, who was 
in bed, and were advancing to her, when one of them called 
out Respect aux femmes! to which the ruffian, who was 
about to kill her, replied Heim ! and put up his sword. The 
Emperor added, that Madame Campan said she never could 
forget this Heim, and still heard it in her ears, for with it 
was linked the saving of her life. 4 

The streets between the Tuileries were brilliantly illu 
minated. The building itself was a blaze of light, and the 

4 It may be interesting to compare the Emperor s recollections with Madame 
Campan s narrative : 

The King and his family had gone to the Assemblee Nationale. Nous* 
(who remained in the Tuileries) times defiler la famille royale entre deur haies 
formees par les grenadiers Suisscs et ceux des bataillons des Petits-Peres et des 
F dles Saint- Thomas. Us etaient si presses par la foulc que, pendant ce court 
trajet, la reine fut volee de sa montre et de sa bourse. ... Je laisse a I histoire 
tons les details de cette journee, trop memorable, me bornant a rctraccr quelques- 
unes des scenes affreuses de I interieur dit palais des Tuileries, apres que le roi 
lent quitted She then describes the rush of the mob, the attack on the Swiss 
guards, and the massacres that took place. Nous allions toutes perir, quand 
un homnie a longue barbe arriva en criant de la part de Petion, " Faites grace aux 
femmes : ne deshonorez pas la nation" She went to look for her sister, and 
reached a room where the mob, rushing in, killed the Heiduque in attend 
ance in the Queen s apartments. Les assassins quit tent V Heiduque pour vcnir 
a mot. Le peu de largeur de Vescalier genait les assassins : mais favais deja 
senti une main terrible senfoncer dans mon dos, pour me saisir par mes vetc- 
mens, lorsqu on cria du bas de Vescalier : " Que fait cs-vous la-haut 1 " L horrible 
Marseillais, qui allait me massacrcr, repondit un HEIM, dont le son ne sortira 
jamais dc ma memoire. L autre voix repondit ces seuh mots : "On ne tue pas 
les femmes." J etais a genoux, mon bourrcau me lacha et me dit, " Leve-toi, 
coquine, la nation te fait grace" Memoir es de la Vie de Marie Antoinette. 
London, 1823. Vol. ii. p. 237. 


whole arrangements for the ball on a scale of the utmost 
splendour, yet all in the very best taste. 

The entrance, Her Majesty writes, decorated with flags 
and flowers, and emblems, with fountains under the staircase, 
and two statues representing England and France, was most 
beautiful, and, as the Emperor observed to me, "faisait Veffet 
des Mille et une Nuits? . . . We went into a very fine long 
salon, where there was a haut-pas with chairs. The 
Empress and I sat in the middle, the Emperor to my right, 
Albert to my left, with Prince Napoleon next to him, and 
Princesse Mathilde next the Emperor. One quadrille of 
only four couple was danced, the Emperor and I, with Albert 
and Princesse Mathilde, opposite Prince Napoleon and 
Madame Haussmann, Prince Adalbert and Lady Cowley. 
After this, one valse was danced. Some Arabs from Algeria, 
fine-looking and very picturesque men, in long white 
burnouses, came and kissed the Emperor s hand. Several 
kissed my hand. One in particular (a Cadi, a chieftain, and 
a priest), all in white from head to foot, was very handsome 
and imposing. The tour of the magnificent rooms, all 
doomed to be charred and levelled with the common dust 
by the fury of the Commune in 1871, was then made. We 
stopped for two or three minutes in the Salle du Trone, 
where Robespierre was wounded, Louis Philippe proclaimed, 
and from the windows of which Lamartine spoke for so many 
hours in 1848 ! The Emperor said : " Cette occasion effacera 
les tristes souvenirs." On entering the carriage to leave, the 
Prince insisted on the Emperor sitting next to the Queen, 
which he had refused to do in going. However, that was 
the last time, for, ever after, when the Empress and Vicky 
were not there, he always made Albert sit forward. We 
went to the Tuileries. I took off my diadem, in which was 
the Koh-i-noor, which Lady Ely carried back. We changed 
carriages and were at St. Cloud by half-past twelve. 

Friday, 2th August. Another visit was paid to the 


Exposition, where the Prince devoted himself to the Agri 
cultural section, while the Queen went through the galleries 
which had not been visited on the previous visit. A great 
review of the troops in the Champ de Mars was appointed 
for the afternoon. At half-past four, Her Majesty writes, 
c we got into the carriages [at the Tuileries]. The Empress 
and the two children Bertie in his full Highland dress 
were in the carriage with me. The Emperor, Albert, Prince 
Adalbert, Prince Napoleon, and a most brilliant suite, were 
all on horseback. The Emperor rode on my side, and Albert 
on the Empress s. There were immense and most enthu 
siastic crowds. We proceeded by that beautiful Place de la 
Concorde, over the Pont de Jena to the Champ de Mars. 
The coup-d ceil there was truly magnificent from 30,000 
to 40,000 men, several rows deep, each regiment with its 
good, powerful band, and their fine commanding tambour- 
majors, their stalwart bearded sapeurs (those of the Volti- 
geurs de la garde have yellow tabliers), and the very pictu 
resque and smartly dressed cantinieres, all cheering, and the 
bands playing " God save the Queen ! " The cortege had 
become immense as we drove down the lines (only in the 
middle, as it would have taken too much time otherwise), 
having been increased by the Marechaux-Generaux (Can- 
robert included), and the picturesque Arabs. We first passed 
down the infantry, then the cavalry, which are beautiful, and 
then the artillery. This over, we drove into the Ecole Mili- 
taire, the Emperor alone dismounting, and handing me 
upstairs to the large balcony, in front of which the Emperor, 
Albert, and the rest, took their station. There we found 
Princess Mathilde, and sat down. Then the troops began to 
deftler in quick time, which took three quarters of an hour ; 
a beautiful spectacle, such fine troops ! . . . . The clothes of 
all the men are infinitely better made and cut than those of 
our soldiers, which provokes me much. The drums, too 


brass ones are much finer. It was a magnificent sight. 
Albert regretted, and so did I, that I was not on horseback. 
This over (it had been dropping rain all the time), I took 
leave of the Empress. The Emperor came to fetch me, and 
I told him how delighted I had been to see these splendid 
troops, "qui etaient les camarades de ces braves troupes 
qui se battaient avec les miennes" and that I had a real 
affection for them. The Emperor replied he hoped that 
this happy unity would ever continue, and that I should be 
able to look at them as if they were my own. . . . 

4 We drove straight to the Hotel des Invalides, under the 
dome of which Napoleon lies, late as it was, because we were 
most anxious not to miss this, perhaps the most important, 
act of all in this very interesting and eventful time. It was 
nearly seven when we arrived. All the Invalides, chiefly 
of the former, but some of the present, war, were drawn up 
on either side of the court into which we drove. It seems 
we had not been expected, there having been some mistake 
on account of the change of hour for the review, which was 
to have been in the morning, but, in consequence of the 
fearful heat, had been put off by the Emperor to five o clock. 
. . . The Governor, Count d Ornano, was terribly put out at 
not having been prevenu. However, it all did very well. 
There were four torches which lit us along, and added to the 
solemnity of the scene, which was striking in every way. 
The Church is .fine and lofty. We went to look from above 
into the open vault, the effect of which the Emperor does 
not like, as he says it looks like u un grand bassin" " On 
arrive" he said, " et on se demande qui est dans le tombeau 
de VEmpereur ; on s attend a voir de I eau id." The work 
and interior designs are, however, very fine. The coffin is 
not yet there, but in a small side chapel de St. Jerome. 
Into this the Emperor led me, and there I stood, at the arm 
of Napoleon III., his nephew, before the coffin of England s 



bitterest foe ; I, the granddaughter of that King who hated 
him most, and who most vigorously opposed him, and this 
very nephew, who bears his name, being my nearest and 
dearest ally ! The organ of the Church was playing " God 
save the Queen " at the time, and this solemn scene took 
place by torchlight, and during a thunder-storm. Strange 
and wonderful indeed. It seems, as if in this tribute of 
respect to a departed and dead foe, old enmities and rivalries 
were wiped out, and the seal of Heaven placed upon that 
bond of unity, which is now happily established between two 
great and powerful nations. May Heaven bless and prosper it! 
6 The coffin is covered with black velvet and gold, and 
Napoleon s orders, hat, and sword, are placed at its foot. 
The Emperor does not intend to bury him here, but to take 
him to St. Denis, where all the French Kings are buried, his 
great wish being to legalise the family as a dynasty in 
France. He will leave the heart here. We went down into 
the vault for a moment, but it was very cold. We then left 
and returned to the Tuileries by half-past seven. . . . 

We had our nice vertrauliches little dinner with the 
Emperor (the children had again gone home), and we talked 
a great deal about the war. Some despatches, up to the 14th, 
had arrived, and Albert showed the Emperor " the Morning 
State," 5 and spoke of the reports which we had received. 
The servants being still in the room, the Emperor began to 
talk in English. He lamented bitterly the want of inven 
tion and energy in both our commanders from the first, and 
the absence of any great genius. He then spoke very openly 
and frankly of the defects of our generals ; and ive told him 
equally frankly what was objected to his ; and nothing could 

5 The tabulated Return, .showing from day to day the exact number and 
description of forces before Sebastopol under the command of General Simpson, 
and also of the siege and field guns. These returns were regularly filed by the 


be more satisfactory than the conversation, or more straight 
forward or honest than the Emperor s observations and pro 
positions. It was just as if we had one and the same army ; 
and so, in fact, it is, but it is very pleasant to find this so in 
another sovereign. 

; It was pretty to hear the retraite, which sent the people 
(long after dark) out of the Grardens of the Tuileries. At 
half-past nine we went to the Opera Comique, not in state, 
though we were recognised. We were in the Emperor s 
private box, which is on the stage. ... It was Auber s 
pretty opera of " Haidee," very nicely sung. The first act 
was over when we arrived. After the opera, before the 
curtain dropped, " Grod save the Queen " was sung ; I was 
obliged to show myself, and was loudly cheered. We reached 
St. Cloud by half-past twelve. The Emperor talked much 
of the war in the carriage. He had received despatches. It 
had rained heavily. 

Saturday, 25th August. The air cooled and refreshed by 
the rain in the night. At half-past eleven the Emperor 
started with his guests for the forest of St. Grermain. We 
arrived about half-past one at La Muette, a small rendez 
vous de chasse, with a few rooms in it, which were again all 
ready and prepared for us. 

6 Marechal Magnan (grand veneur), Comte Edgar Ney, 
M. de Toulongeon, &c., all in the huntsman s dress, dark 
green velvet with red waistcoats, high boots, and cocked 
hats, received us. Many people from the neighbourhood 
were assembled there, including good old Lablache, who was 
called up for us to speak to, and who cried when the Em 
peror shook hands with him, and said, " La Heine iria recom- 
itiande votrefils." The dogs were then brought up with the 
huntsmen, who played a fanfare on their horns. Some 
young girls dressed all in white, with green wreaths, then 
asked permission to present me with a nosegay and some 

z 2 


fruit. They came, accompanied by the cure. One, a very 
young girl, began a long speech, bringing in our visit, the 
Alliance, the Exposition, &c. Suddenly she stopped, exclaiming, 
"Ah, mon Dieu!" The Emperor and I proposed to re 
lieve her by taking the nosegay from her and thanking her, 
but she would not give it up, and said, "Attendez! je vais 
me rappeler!" which nearly set us off. But she persevered, 
and did recollect it for some sentences, when she broke 
down a second time. Then the cure, who had evidently 
composed the speech, burst forth with the finale of " Vive 
la Reine d Angleterre I " which set the girl right again, and 
she continued : " Vive la Reine d Angleterre, vive sa 
Demoiselle, vive son Prince Albert, vive VEmpereur, vive 
r Imperatrice, vive tout le monde ! " We laughed much 
afterwards at this little episode, for the effect was most 
comical, and yet the poor girl was much to be commended 
and admired for her courage and perseverance ; she looked so 
frightened. . . . 

After luncheon, a propos of which the Queen notes that 
the Imperial cuisine generally is simple and good, but 
with less variety than ours, and talking together for some 
little time, we went into the front room or hall, where we sat 
down, and I sketched a little, and listened to the music, 
which was very pretty. The Emperor was very gay, and 
danced with the children. We left about half-past three ; 
and drove to the old Palace of St. Germain, where the rooms 
occupied by Mademoiselle de la Valliere, and those in which 
James II. lived after his dethronement, were particularly ex 
amined. On the way back to St. Cloud, a visit was paid to 
Malmaison, where the Emperor in his childhood had seen the 
Empress Josephine, and to the fortress of Mont Valerien. 

There was to be a state ball at Versailles the same even 
ing. The Royal party, with the exception of the Empress, 
who had preceded them, so as to rest and dress at Versailles, 


started at a quarter-past nine : * thepiqueurs carrying torches, 
which I had not seen since I was in Germany. It rained 
twice while we were on the way, which alarmed us, but en 
tirely cleared before we reached Versailles, the moon shining 
beautifully. The Palace looked magnificent. It was illu 
minated throughout with lamps, which had a charming 
effect. The staircase, finely lighted up and carpeted, 
looked not like the same staircase we had seen a few days 
before. The Empress met us at the top of the staircase, look 
ing like a fairy queen or nymph, in a white dress, trimmed 
with branches of grass and diamonds, a beautiful tour de cor 
sage of diamonds round the top of her dress, and all en riviere, 
the same round her waist, and a corresponding coiffure, 
with her Spanish and Portuguese orders. The Emperor 
said when she appeared : " Comme tu es belle ! " . . . We 
went through the Galerie des Glaces, which was full of people, 
and one blaze of light from countless lustres. Wreaths of 
flowers hung from the ceiling. 

We went to the window to look at the illuminations all 
along the grillage of yellow and green lamps, with our four 
initials at intervals, which were charmingly reflected in the 
water. The general effect was splendid. We next went into 
another room, from the balcony of which we witnessed the 
fireworks. These were magnificent rockets, and bouquets 
of girandoles, such as I have never seen, they rose so high, 
and the balls and lights thrown were so variegated in colours. 
Guns were fired the whole time, and unfortunately the smoke 
was driven by the wind too low, which slightly obscured the 
fireworks at the end, to the great distress of the Empress, by 
whom the fireworks, as well as the rest of the fete, had been 
designed. The Emperor had, I believe, ordered the guns, as 
he thought (and in that he was right), that something of 
this sort is always required to keep up the excitement. The 
finale was a representation in fireworks of Windsor Castle, 


a very pretty attention. We then returned to the ball and 
the dancing began. 

The Empress did not dance. 6 The Queen danced two 
quadrilles, the first with the Emperor, the second with Prince 
Napoleon. In these Prince Albert joined, dancing first with 
the Princess Mathilde, and afterwards with the Princess of 
Augustenburg. Several of the guests were then presented to 
Her Majesty, among others, one who was afterwards to visit 
the halls of the palace of Versailles under very different cir 
cumstances, Count Bismarck, then Prussian Minister at 
Frankfort. He is described as very Russian and Kreuz- 
zeitungj and as having said, in answer to the Queen s ob 
servation, how beautiful Paris was, Sogar schoner als 
Petersburg (even more beautiful than Petersburg}. Dan 
cing was then resumed, the Queen waltzing with the Em 
peror, who waltzes very quietly .... This over, we 
waited in the celebrated ce d-de-bceuf, where Louis XIV. s 
courtiers waited for him pov.r etre au lever, and which the 
ball-room opens into. It was beautifully furnished for the 
occasion with Beauvais tapestry. 

* We waited till all the company had gone in to supper, 
and then began our procession, the guards, officers, c., 
walking before us. We walked through a number of fine 
rooms and a long gallery to the theatre, where the supper was. 
The sight it presented was truly magnificent. The whole 
stage was covered in, and four hundred people sat down to 
supper at forty small tables of ten each, each presided over 
by a lady, and nicely selected, all by the Empress s own 
desire and arrangement. There were many garlands of 
flowers, and the whole was beautifully lit up with innumerable 
chandeliers. The boxes were full of spectators, and a band 
was playing, but not visible. We sat at a small table in the 
centre box, with only the Emperor and Empress, the two 
8 The Empress was at this time enceinte, and in very delicate health. 


children, Prince Napoleon, Princess Mathilde, and Prince 
Adalbert. It was one of the finest and most magnificent 
sights we had ever witnessed ; there had not been a ball at 
Versailles since the time of Louis XVI., and the present one 
had been arranged after a print of a fete given by Louis 
XV. The supper over, we returned to the Salle ties Olaces, 
where there was one more waltz, which the Emperor danced 
with Vicky. . . . 

It was near two when we left. . . . The Emperor, as 
he led me away, said, " C est terrible, quece soit Uav ant-dernier 
soir ! which I was equally sorry for. I observed, I hoped 
he would come to England again, to which he replied, " Most 
certainly. Mais, n est-ce pas, vous reviendrez ? Comme nous 
nous connaissons maintenant, nous pouvons oiler nous 
voir a Windsor et a Fontainebleau sans grande ceremonie, 
n est-ce pas ? " I replied, that this would give me great plea 
sure, which it certainly would. ... It was past two when 
we got home, much delighted, and the children in ecstasies, 
and past three before we got to bed. 

Sunday, 26th August. This was Prince Albert s birthday. 
It is thus the entries for the day begin. 

This dearest of days was not ushered in as usual, nor 
spent at home as I could have wished ; but my dear Albert 
was pleased, and it was spent with those who truly appreciate 
him. May Grod ever bless and protect him for many, many 
years to come, and may we ever be together to our lives end ! 
The morning was beautiful, and, when I was dressed, 
Albert came in. I gave him at a table surrounded by a 
wreath a very fine bronze of the celebrated Belgian group, 
" Le Lion Amoureux" and some pretty Alliance and Crimean 
studs, the third button having a blank, I hope for Sebastopol. 
The Emperor joined us and we breakfasted. Immediately 
after breakfast the Emperor said, that he had some music of 
his own composition in honour of Albert s birthday. He took 


us to the balcony of Albert s dressing-room, which over 
looks the courtyard, where were assembled 300 drummers, 
with their several tambour-majors. Upon our appearing the 
Emperor gave them the signal, " Commencez ! " on which 
they all, as if they were one man, began a splendid roll of 
drums in a particular manner, which is only given upon the 
jour de ran. They repeated this twice, and then went away 
cheering. It was very fine, and very kind of the Emperor. 
He is particularly fond of it. 

In the course of this morning, while the Emperor drove 
the Queen through the Park of St. Cloud in his own phaeton, 
a very interesting conversation took place. I said to the 
Emperor that as he was always so very frank in all he said 
to me, and wished that I should be the same, I was very 
anxious to tell him something, " que favais bien a coeur, 
qu il comprit" and this was, that he should understand on 
what footing I was with the Orleans family ; that they were 
my friends and relations, and that I could not drop them in 
their adversity, but that they were very discreet, and politics 
were not touched upon between us. The Emperor replied, 
that he quite understood this, and felt that I could not 
abandon those who were in misfortune. I rejoined, that I 
felt certain this was the Emperor s feeling ; but that other 
people tried, and Walewski was one, to put a great stress on 
my communications with the family, and to make me under 
stand that the Emperor would be very much displeased. 
He replied, " that was just like Walewski. . . . Commenous 
tiommes une fois sur ce sujet" he continued, he wished to 
explain the motives which led him to confiscate the property 
of the Orleans family, an action which had been much 
attacked. He had no animosity to the family. He had 
wished to leave all the Orleanist employes in their places, to 
dismiss no one, and to receive every one, but that he had 
discovered that their agents, encouraged by themselves 


(though, on my observation, that I was sure they would not 
conspire, he admitted that), were attempting to upset his 
authority, and that then he felt he could not leave them 
with such large possessions, which they would have the power 
to use against the government. He had therefore pursued 
the course, that had been pursued before, of obliging them 
to sell their property within six months. But he repeated 
that he had " aucune animosite" and he hoped, I had told 
the Queen that it would give him pleasure, if she passed 
through France on her way to Spain. I could not make 
much further remark, beyond saying that they had felt the con 
fiscation very much, and that they were in consequence much 
more bitter than they would otherwise have been, at least, 
they had been at the time, for now the subject was never 
mentioned between us. I praised the Princes, and the Queen, 
their discretion, &c. The Emperor said, in conclusion of his 
explanation about the confiscation, that their agents were in 
constant communication with his enemies, even " avec ceux 
qui prechent Vassassinat" I said, I could hardly credit 
this. They were, I was sure, incapable of such conduct. I, 
Jiowever, added, that naturally all exiles were inclined to 
conspire, which he did not deny, and which indeed he had 
practised himself. . . . 

c A curious conversation, but which I was greatly relieved 
to have had, for with my feelings of sincerity, I could not 
bear that there should be anything between us, now that the 
Alliance is so firmly and intimately established, and still 
more since we personally are on so intimate and friendly a 
footing. I was very anxious to get out what I had to say 
on the subject, and not to have this untouchable ground 
between us. Stockmar, so far back as last winter, suggested 
and advised, that this course should be pursued. During 
this conversation the Emperor again proposed he had done 
so last Sunday to take us to see the Chapelle de St. Ferdi- 


nand, built on the spot where the poor Duke of Orleans 

English service was read at noon. After this both the 
Emperor and Empress most kindly gave Albert presents, the 
former a picture by Meissonier, the finest thing in the 
Exhibition. . . . The Emperor kept constantly asking me, 
through Lady Ely, what Albert would like to have ; and when 
I said at last, I know how much Albert admired this picture, 
the Emperor instantly sent for it, and gave it to him. So 
very kind. The Empress gave him a beautiful Poked 1 
carved in ivory, and handsomely mounted. The presents 
were placed in the luncheon room. . . . 

In the afternoon the visit to the Chapelle de St. Ferdi 
nand was paid by the Queen and Prince in company with 
their Imperial hosts. As they came out of this chapel, of 
which some of the most beautiful features are by Baron 
Triqueti, who lived to design the art decorations of the 
Memorial Chapel to the Prince at Windsor, a woman from 
the opposite house, where the Cure who attended us lives, 
brought two medals in a box, which the Emperor took from 
her, paying for them himself, and giving them to me comme 
souvenir. They contained the heads of poor Chartres [the 
late Duke of Orleans] and Paris, with some lines in allusion 
to the latter being the hope of France, and with a repre 
sentation of the chapel on the back. Strange that the 
Emperor should have bought them ! 

A dinner party, followed by a concert of classical music, 
which Albert was much pleased with, but which bored the 
Emperor, wound up the evening. 

Monday , 27th August, St. Cloud I must write to 
day, and here in my lovely dressing room, in this beautiful 
St. Cloud, with the cool sound of the fountains in my ear, a 
few parting words. I am deeply grateful for these eight very 
7 This cup is now at Balmoral. 


happy days, and for the delight of seeing such beautiful and 
interesting places and objects, and for the reception which 
we have met with in Paris, and in France generally. The 
union of the two nations, and of the two Sovereigns, for there 
is a great friendship sprung up between us, is of the greatest 
importance ! May God bless these two countries, and may 
He specially protect the precious life of the Emperor, and 
may this happy union ever continue for the benefit of the 
world ! 

A beautiful morning, which made the dear place look 
only more lovely, and the departure even more sad. ... At 
length at ten we were ready to go, and the Emperor came, 
saying the Empress was ready, but " ne pent tfa/rracher" and 
if I would come to her room, it would make her come. When 
we went in, the Emperor called to her, " Eugenie, la Heine e$t 
la ; " and she came and gave me a beautiful fan, and a rose 
and heliotrope from the garden, and Vicky a beautiful brace 
let, set with rubies and diamonds, containing her hair, with 
which Vicky was delighted. We started at half-past ten, the 
Emperor and Empress going with us. I was sorely grieved 
to leave this charming St. Cloud. The morning was more 
beautiful than ever, though intensely hot. The crowds 
great everywhere, beginning with the town of St. Cloud, 
where we generally (as also in other places) saw some poor 
wounded soldiers from the Crimea, including some of my 
favourites, the Zouaves. Along the whole route there were 
immense crowds, all most friendly. The Arc de Triomphe, 
under which we drove almost daily, had never been driven 
under before, except, I think, on one great occasion by the 
Emperor himself, and when the " cendres de Napoleon" 
passed through it. 8 All these things are striking and valu 
able, as indicating the altered feeling of the country. 

8 This Arch, -which is generally associated exclusively with the name of 
the first Napoleon, was begun by him in 1806. On the 1st of April, 1810, 


At the Tuileries adieu was said, amid no small emotion, to 
the Empress, and the Royal guests proceeded in state, ac 
companied by the Emperor and Prince Napoleon, to the 
Strasbourg Railway Station, where they were met by all the 
Ministers and Municipal authorities. The same cordial 
welcome which had greeted them in going to Paris awaited 
them at the various towns which they passed on their way 
back to Boulogne, which was reached at half-past five. After 
resting a short time at the Hotel du Pavilion, which is close 
to the beach, facing the sea, we drove down at once, Her 
Majesty writes, c to the sands, where were assembled all the 
troops of the camp, 36,000 infantry, besides cavalry, lancers, 
and dragoons, and the gendarmerie. We drove down the 
lines, which were immensely deep, quite a forest of bayonets. 
The effect they produced, with the background of the calm 
blue sea, and the setting sun, which threw a glorious crimson 
light over all for it was six o clock was most magnificent. 

Several of the officers and men were then decorated by the 
Emperor with the Cross of the Legion of Honour, after which 
came the usual march past. As to this it is observed : 
f They walk much looser than our men, but they keep their 
time well and their appearance and step are very soldier 
like. . . . Near the end of the march past our squadron 
saluted, and indeed it was one of the not least remarkable of 
the many striking events and contrasts with former times, 
which took placs during this visit, that at this very place, on 
these very sands, Napoleon I. reviewed his army, which was 
to invade England, Nelson s fleet lying, where our squadron 

when the Empress Maria Louisa made her triumphal entry into Paris, she 
passed under a wooden structure reared above what had then been built of the 
Arch, and which represented what it was intended to be. The Arch was un 
finished at the time of the fall of Napoleon, the scaffolding was removed, and 
for a time it seemed as if the work would not be proceeded with. However, 
Charles X. set to work to complete it, intending to use it as a memorial of the 
exploits of the Due d Angouleme in Spain. But the original design was re 
sumed by Louis Philippe, and it was completed in 1836. 


lay, watching that very army. Now our squadron saluted 
Napoleon III. while his army was filing past the Queen of 
England, several of the bands playing " Rule Britannia ! " 
.... The sight of the troops as they filed off in their 
separate battalions of 800 each along the sea-shore, the setting 
sun gilding the thousands of bayonets, lances, &c., was in 
describably beautiful. 

The Queen and Prince now drove to the camps of Honvault 
and Ambleteuse. By the time they had inspected these, ( the 
moon was rising, like a crimson ball, and giving a beautiful 
effect to the darkening sky and the dim twilight. I had a 
cantiniere called up to the carriage, and looked at her dress 
and her little barrel. She was very tidy, clean, and well 
spoken. I wish we had them in our army. They must 
always be married, and if they wish to remain in the regi 
ment, and their husbands die or are killed, they must marry 
again within the year. 

At length came the hour of parting. 4 At eleven o clock, 
after having dined, we got into the carriages. The streets 
and houses of the town were one blaze of illuminations and 
fireworks. There were salutes, bands playing, great cheering, 
and, to crown all, an exquisite moon, shining brilliantly over 
everything. It was a very fine and moving sight. The 
Emperor led me on board, followed by his whole suite, as he 
wished to go with us a little way out to sea. We glided 
out of the harbour, I with a heavy heart. . . . 

4 When out of the port, we took the Emperor, who was in 
perfect amazement at the size of the yacht, all over it below ; 
he wishes to build one, smaller, for himself. I said he 
should build one the same size, to which he replied : " Cela va 
pour la Reine des Mers, mais pas pour un terrestrien 
comme moi." When we came on deck, Colonel Fleury told 
the Emperor he must leave, or his small yacht, V Ariel, 
could not re-enter the port. 


4 We thanked the Emperor much for all his kindness and 
for this delightful visit. He said : " Vous reviendrez ? " and 
we hoped he would come to England; I embraced him twice, 
and he shook hands very warmly with Albert and the children. 
We followed him to the ladder, and here I once more squeezed 
his hand and embraced him, saying : u Encore une fois, 
adieu, Sire ! " We looked over the side of the ship, and 
watched them getting into the barge. The Emperor called 
out: "Adieu, Madame, an revoir:" to which I replied: 
" Je Pespere bien." We heard the splash of the oars, and 
saw the barge lit by the moon and numbers of blue lights, 
which we had on board the yacht, row up to the Ariel, and 
the Emperor and the rest go on board the yacht. Then we 
sent up endless rockets. We waited a little while for the 
Fairy to bring up the baggage, and watched the Imperial 
yacht which passed us, which our men cheered, while we 
waved our handkerchiefs, and then all was still, all over ! It 
was past twelve when the Emperor left, and we stayed talking 
with Lord Clarendon till one. 

By half-past eight next morning the yacht cast anchor 
below Osborne, where Prince Alfred and his younger brothers 
were waiting upon the beach. f Near the house were Lenchen 
and Louise, and in the house poor dear Alice, who was quite 
upset at seeing us. The calm sweet home after the stir and 
splendour of the last ten days is brought vividly before us in 
these few simple words. The Queen sums up the account, 
of which we have only been able to borrow a comparatively 
small portion, with the following remarks : 

Strange indeed are the dispensations and ways of Provi 
dence. Who ever could have thought that this same man, this 
Emperor, towards whom we certainly were not, since Decem 
ber 1851, well disposed, against whom so much was and could 
be said, whose life had been so chequered, could from out 
ward circumstances, and his own sincere, straightforward 


conduct towards this country, and moderation and wisdom 
generally, become not only the staunchest ally and friend of 
England, but our personal friend ! 

I have since talked frequently with Albert, who is natu 
rally much calmer, and particularly much less taken by 
people, much less under personal influence, than I am. He 
quite admits that it is extraordinary, how very much at 
tached one becomes to the Emperor, when one lives with 
him quite at one s ease and intimately, as we have done 
during the last ten days, for eight, ten, twelve, and, to-day, 
even fourteen hours a day. He is so quiet, so simple, naif 
even, so pleased to be informed about things which he does 
not know, so gentle, so full of tact, dignity and modesty, 
so full of respect and kind attention towards us, never saying 
a word, or doing a thing, which could put me out or embar 
rass me. I know few people, whom I have felt invo 
luntarily more inclined to confide in and speak unreservedly 
to I should not fear saying anything to him. I felt 
I do not know how to express it safe with him. His 
society is particularly agreeable and pleasant ; there is some 
thing fascinating, melancholy, and engaging, which draws you 
to him, in spite of any prevention you may have against him, 
and certainly without the assistance of any outward advan 
tages of appearance, though I like his face. He undoubtedly 
has a most extraordinary power of attaching people to him ! 
The children are very fond of him ; to them also his kindness 
was very great, but at the same time most judicious. Then, 
lie is so fond of Albert, appreciates him so thoroughly, and 
shows him so much confidence. In fine, I shall always look 
back on this visit to France, not only on account of the de 
lightful and splendid things we saw and enjoyed, but on the 
time we passed with the Emperor, as one of the pleasantest 
and most interesting periods of my life ! The Empress, too, 
has a great charm, and we are all very fond of her. 



WHILE the feelings inspired by the incidents of the last 
ten days were still fresh and warm, both the Queen and 
Prince wrote to the Emperor of the French to express their 
gratitude for the personal kindness of the Empress and him 
self, and satisfaction at the prospect of a closer intimacy 
between France and England, to which the cordiality of their 
reception warranted them in looking forward. 1 A few words 
of the Emperor s reply to the Prince suffice to show the hold 
upon his regard which the Prince s high qualities had estab 
lished. Xeed I say, he writes, that the more I know you, 
the greater is my esteem for your character, and my friend 
ship for your person ? Of this you must be convinced, for \\ e 
know by intuition those who love us. I regretted much the 
shortness of your stay, for where a desire to do good exists, 
the more people are together, the better do they understand 
each other. 

There were many letters to be written by the Prince im 
mediately after the return to Osborne, in acknowledgment 
of the congratulations on his birthday, and to those who were 
looking eagerly for his report of the events of the last few 
days. Not the least interesting of these was the following 
to the King of the Belgians : 

1 Osborne, 29th August, 1855. 

6 My dear Uncle, We cannot be sufficiently thankful for 
the success which has attended our expedition to Paris. 

1 These letters, with the Emperor s replies, will Le found in the Appendix. 


One day later, and we should not have been able to reach 
Boulogne, and during a heavy gale that lasted for three days 
hosts of vessels had to run for it to the Downs. In Paris we 
had the most glorious weather, no accident of any kind 
occurred, none of the festivities miscarried, no man s feelings 
were wounded (as on occasions of this kind, where so many 
personal vanities are brought into play, so generally happens), 
the public was inspired by a daily growing enthusiasm, and 
on good terms with us, and with itself, the troops were superb, 
the festivities fine and on a grand scale (grossartig schori), 
the Emperor and Empress cordial and friendly, our own suite 
thoroughly pleased, the children well-behaved, and at the 
same time highly delighted. In short, everything went off 
to a wish, which is always a great chance where what had 
to be done demanded such difficult combinations, as were 
recaiired here. That the results of the visit will be most 
beneficial politically, I cannot for a moment doubt. 

Paris is signally beautified by the Rue de Rivoli, the 
Boulevard de Strasbourg, the completion of the Louvre, the 
great open square in front of the Hotel de Ville, the clearing 
away of all the small houses which surrounded Notre Dame, by 
the fine Napoleon barracks, the completion of the Palais de 
Justice, and restoration of the Sainte Chapelle, and especially 
by the laying out of the ornamental grounds in the Bois de 
Boulogne, which really may be said to vie with the finest 
English parks. How all this could have been done in so 
short a time, no one comprehends. On the other hand, a 
painful impression was produced by Neuilly laid in ruins, 
with grass growing over them, and by the chapel of St. 
Ferdinand, with the beautiful monument to the Duke of 
Orleans. Both of these spots we visited with the Emperor. 
Strange ! No less remarkable than that, after the great 
review, we went down in our uniforms, by torchlight (for 
it was now dark) with him and Prince Napoleon into the 



tomb of Napoleon, while the organ of the Church of the 
Invalides played " God save the Queen ; " and that 40,000 
men defiled before us upon the beach at Boulogne, the spot 
from which Napoleon was to start his invading army, and 
that whilst our fleet "saluted us from the very anchorage 
which Nelson traversed for the purpose of preventing the in 
vasion, many of the French regimental bands played Rule 
Britannia ! " in reply. So numerous were the strange im 
pressions wrought by the contrast of past with present, that 
one could often only wonder. Thus we supped at Versailles 
in the theatre where the gardes du corps held their famous 
banquet, and even sat in the box in which Marie Antoinette 
showed herself to them ; Victoria made her toilette in her 
boudoir, the ball-room was decorated after Louis XV. s last 
ball, &c. &c. 

Little was said about politics, beyond the strongest assur 
ances of persevering loyally in the war, until it shall be 
brought to a satisfactory close. The French are now within 
60 yards of the Malakoff, and we within 120 of the Redan ; 
the new Russian army was beaten in the field on the 16th, 
and must have lost 15,000 men on the occasion, for 3,200 
dead were buried during the truce. The Russian cavalry 
must be at its last gasp for want of fodder, and the garrison 
of Sebastopol crippled by the numbers of sick and wounded. 
God send a happy issue to it all ! ! and that would soon come, 
had we one General-in-Chief. 

The Prince sent a copy of this letter the same day to Baron 
Stockmar, writing to him at the same time as follows : 

We got back here safely yesterday. I send you copies of 
some travelling impressions, which I have just despatched to 
Uncle Leopold, so as not to be going twice over the same 
ground. A difficult expedition has been carried through with 


the most complete success, and will be productive of lasting 
advantage. Our relations with the Emperor have become 
more and more confidential and direct, and the alliance gives 
to the edifice he is rearing a certain weight and solidity 
(Gehalt) which cannot be improvised. 

Victoria has borne all the fatigues very well, and the for 
her really great exertions which she has made to please the 
people, and to call their friendly feelings into play, have met 
with the fullest recognition, and evoked great enthusiasm for 
her, in which all parties appear glad to have found a point 
of union. 2 You will be pleased to hear how well both the 
children behaved. Nothing could be more unembarrassed, 
more modest, or more friendly. They have made themselves 
general favourites, too, especially the Prince of Wales, qui 
est si gentil. As the French are sarcastic, and not readily 
partial to strangers, this is so much the more important. 

4 1 am in the midst of the misery of having to celebrate 
my birthday, and answering a host of letters of congratu 
lation, besides unpacking and putting things straight, pick 
ing up the arrears caused by our journey, and preparing for 
our departure for Scotland, so I must conclude. We go 
north on the 5th, and shall occupy the new house. Remem 
ber, your room is ready, and waiting for you to consecrate 
it, and send me a line to say if you are coming. The 
mountain air will do you good. 

2 Strong confirmation of this was given in a letter from the Princess Lieven 
to her most intimate friend in England, from which the following extract wafe 
sent (16th of September) by Lord Clarendon to the Queen : 

La visite de la Untie a ete une perfection dc tout point savf le retard du 
premier jour. Pour tout le reste, curiosite, bienveillance dans le public, bonne 
reception partout, fetes magnifiques, temps superbe, bonne humeur, en hauten has. 
La Reine ravie, emerveillee, enchantee de son hdte, temoignant son plaiair de 
tout. On Ta trouvee parfaitement gracieuse, toujours reine, toujours droite, 
tournure chnrmante. Voi/a la verite vraie, car cest tout le monde qui le redit. 
In sending this extract Lord Clarendon says : Princess Lieven s salon and 
entourage were not pleased with the visit, and she herself is in no friendly mood 
towards England, but the force of truth prevailed at the moment of writing. 

A A 2 


The Duchess of Kent was then at Abergeldie, and had sent 
the Prince a favourable account of the new house at Balmoral, 
which had just been partially completed. In acknowledging 
her birthday good wishes and gift, he writes to her : 

I send you my most hearty thanks for your telegrams, for 
your dear letter, which I received while still in France, and 
for the second, written on the 26th, which reached me to-day, 
as well as for the beautiful clock, which made a great figure 
upon my table of presents to-day. You see, therefore, that 
I have much cause for gratitude. The clock shall accompany 
me to Balmoral, and take up its abiding-place upon my 
mantle-piece there. 

I am glad you like the building, about which I am very 

I shall say little about Paris, as I want to keep your 
curiosity alive for all that will have to be told you by word 
of mouth. You can then ask, too, about the points most in 
teresting to yourself. The whole journey has been " a perfect 
success," and has been unmistakeably watched over and 
favoured by heaven ; and there is not the smallest circum 
stance I can think of which I would have wished otherwise. 
Victoria bore the great fatigues remarkably well, and won 
the hearts of all by her endeavours to make herself agreeable 
to the people. I am bound to praise the children greatly. 
They behaved extremely well, and pleased everybody. The 
task was no easy one for them, but they discharged it with 
out embarrassment, and with natural simplicity. I have 
found the black shawl, and purpose laying it at your feet at 
Abergeldie but not in the mud, as Sir Walter Raleigh did 
his cloak. 

Now farewell ! Ever and always your devoted nephew 
and son. 

Osborne, 29th August, 1855. 


Similar acknowledgments were also sent by the Prince the 
same day to the Dowager Duchess of Coburg : 

( My heart s thanks for your dear lines, and good wishes 
for my birthday, which completes three dozen of years for 
me ! They reached me at St. Cloud. The beautiful picture 
which you announce will give me great pleasure, as every 
thing does that comes from you. The 26th (being Sunday) 
we solemnised in English quietude under the Imperial roof. 
Nineteen years ago I was in Paris with Ernest and Papa, and 
I have not been there since. You may imagine what a 
strange impression so many changes must have produced. 
Neuilly, where we were then received, now lies in ruins, and 
the grass grows upon its site. The Duke of Orleans was then 
alive, and unmarried ; Marie and Clementine, daughters of 
the house ; Nemours, Aumale, and Montpensier were at 
school ; Joinville a naval cadet. All this is vanished as if 
before the wind, and in its stead we brought with us two 
children, almost fully grown. 

We have been received everywhere with incredible enthu 
siasm, and cannot say enough of the kindness of the Emperor 
and Empress. We anticipate the best results from this visit, 
foremost among which must be the persistent prosecution of 
the war, which to you will scarcely appear in so advantageous 
a light. . . . 

6 We purpose making our escape on the 5th to our moun 
tain home, Balmoral. We are sorely in want of the moral 
rest, and the bodily exercise. 3 

Osborne, 30th August, 1855. 

Halting in Edinburgh for a night upon the way, the Court 

3 After that magnificent Paris, with all its splendour, and brilliancy, and 
fetes, &c., it will be like a golden dream to you, when you are in the Highlands 
amongst hills, and woods, and glens, but it will be very refreshing, and quiet 
ing, and agreeable. May you enjoy it, my dearest Victoria. Letter to the 
Queen, 1st September, from her Sister the Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. 


reached Balmoral on the 7th, where the Queen and Prince 
found the principal part of the new house ready for their 
occupation, and, as the Prince notes in his Diary, already 
very comfortable. 5 The great tower was half up, and the 
wing which connects it with the body of the castle was 
roofed. The principal terrace was also completed, but large 
earthworks still remained to be carried out in the hollow in 
front of the house. Here was something to distract the 
Prince s attention pleasantly from the grave desk work in 
which, even during his so-called holiday, so much of his time 
was passed. 

Strange, very strange, it seemed to me, Her Majesty writes 
(Leaves from a Journal), l to drive past, indeed, through, the old 
house, the connecting part between it and the offices being 
broken through. The new house is beautiful. . . . An old shoe 
was thrown after us for good luck when we entered the hall. 
The house is charming, the rooms delightful, the furniture, 
papers, everything perfection. The view from the windows of 
our rooms, and from the library, drawing-room, &c. below them, 
of the valley of the Dee, with the mountains in the background, 
which one could never see from the old house, is quite beautiful. 

The new house was soon to be gladdened by good news from 
the seat of war. On the 8th came intelligence by telegram, 
that the fire upon Sebastopol had been re-opened on the 5th 
with effect, and that the French guns had destroyed one of 
the ships in the harbour. Next day brought news of the 
destruction of another of the ships, and of a great part of the 
city being on fire. A succession of telegrams on the 1 Oth told 
of the rapidly approaching close of a struggle, unparalleled for 
the tenacity and valour on both sides with which it had been 
carried on. First came one from General Simpson, dated 
eleven P.M. on the 8th, telling that the Malakoff was in pos 
session of the French, but that our assault on the Redan had 
failed. This was followed by another, dated 10.9 A.M. on the 


9th, announcing that Sebastopol was in the possession of the 
Allies, and that the south side of the town had been evacuated 
by the enemy, after they had exploded their magazines and 
set fire to the town. Simultaneously with this came a 
telegram from Lord Clarendon to the Queen, with copy of 
one from General Pelissier, dated 8 P.M. on the 9th, stating 
that the Russians had sunk their steamers, and that the 
city was one vast scene of conflagration. Lastly came one 
announcing that Prince Gortschakoff had asked for an armis 
tice to enable him to remove the remainder of his wounded. 

In the Leaves from a Journal a sketch is given of what 
passed at Balmoral on this evening, which it will not be out 
of place to recall here. The time is after dinner : 

All were in constant expectation of more telegraphic de 
spatches. At half-past ten o clock two arrived, one for me, and 
one for Lord Granville. I began reading mine, which was from 
Lord Clarendon, with details from Marshal Pelissier of the 
further destruction of the Russian ships ; and Lord Granville 
said, " I have still better news ; " on which he read, " From 
General Simpson, Sebastopol is in the liands of the Allies." God 
be praised for it. Our delight was great ; but we could hardly 
believe the good news, and from having so long, so anxiously 
expected it, one could not realise the actual fact. 

Albert said they should go at once and light the bonfire which 
had been prepared when the false report of the fall of the town 
arrived last year, and had remained ever since, waiting to be lit. 
On the 5th of November, the day of the battle of Inkermann, 
the wind upset it, strange to say ; and now again, most strangely, 
it only seemed to wait for our return to be lit. 

The new house seems to be lucky indeed, for, from the first 
moment of our arrival, we have had good news. In a few 
minutes, Albert and all the gentlemen, in every species of attire, 
sallied forth, followed by all the servants, and gradually by all 
the population of the village keepers, gillies, workmen up to 
the top of the cairn. We waited, and saw them light the bon 
fire ; accompanied by general cheering. It blazed forth brilliantly, 
and we could see the numerous figures surrounding it some 


dancing, all shouting Ross playing his pipes, and Grant and 
Macdonald firing off guns continually. . . . About three-quarters 
of an hour after, Albert came down, and said the scene had been 
wild and exciting beyond everything. The people had been 
drinking healths in whisky, and were in great ecstasy. . . . We 
remained till a quarter to twelve ; and just as I was undressing, 
all the people came down under the windows, the pipes playing, 
the people singing, firing off guns, and cheering, first for me, 
then for Albert, the Emperor of the French, and " the downfall 
of Sebastopol." 

One of the first acts of the Queen was to telegraph to the 
Emperor of the French in these words : 4 We congratulate the 
Emperor with all our hearts on the glorious news of the fall 
of Sebastopol, which we know will give him as much pleasure 
and satisfaction as it does to us. We have at length wit 
nessed the successful result of all our labours and sufferings. 
At the same time Lord Panmure was requested to send Her 
Majesty s warmest congratulations to General Simpson and 
General Pelissier. 

To Baron Stockmar, the friend with whom of all others 
he would most have wished to discuss the probable results 
of the fall of Sebastopol, the Prince wrote as fellows : 

( I must write you a line, as I cannot pay you a visit in 
your room, to share my joy with you over the fall of Sebas 
topol. Our bonfire on Craig Gowan, opposite the house, the 
setting up of which you will remember when the false news 
of the untraceable Tatar arrived, and which to our sorrow 
we had to leave behind us when we left Balmoral last year 
which was, moreover, blown down by the gale on the 5th of 
November, Inkermann day, and found by us on our return 
this year scattered on the ground in melancholy plight 

4 On the 8th a lunatic named Bellemarre was foiled in an attempt to 
assassinate the Emperor at the door of the Italian Opera. He mistook the 
carriage, and was seized before he could fire the pistols, of which he had one 
in each hand. 


blazed out magnificently about eleven o clock on the evening 
of the 10th. It illuminated all the peaks round about ; and 
the whole scattered population of the valleys understood 
the sign, and made for the mountain, where we performed 
towards midnight a veritable Witches dance, supported by 

The result of all these unspeakable exertions and suffer 
ings is truly gratifying in the highest sense. We are still 
quite without details, further than that the assault upon the 
8th cost us alone 2,000 men : we may set down the loss of 
the French at double that number, because they delivered 
the assault at three points, and were orily able to take the 
Malakoff. The Eussians must have sustained fearful losses, 
as to which, however, they will probably say nothing. The 
result has proved that those people were quite right who main 
tained that the Malakoff was the key of the position. Never 
theless, from September of las-t year till the end of February, 
the French besieged the west side merely, and our troops upon 
the right did not extend so as to overlap the Malakoff. The 
siege upon the right dates, therefore, from the beginning of 
March ; but it was the end of May before the French, under 
Pelissier, undertook to assault the Mamelon and the outworks. 
Since that time the engineers work has made constant and 
rapid progress, and had advanced to within ten paces of the 
Malakoff. (The attack of the 18th June was a blundering 
episode, prematurely accelerated by the success of the 7th.) 
Every twenty-four hours cost the French, however, 200 men, 
and us close upon 60 ! This being the case, whatever the losses 
may have been in the assault, the result to us is a great saving of 
life, when we take into account how much we gain upon the 
whole, by the fact of the entire army being now set free. Every 
twenty-four hours cannonade cost the Russians 1,000 men, 
because they were necessarily so closely packed together. A 
further fact ascertained is, that the vertical fire of bombs from 


mortars, which were thought to have been superseded by the 
invention of Paixhans and horizontal bombs, is nevertheless 
indispensable. The French, as well as ourselves, have since 
June brought a number into line, while the Eussians had very 
few ; and, over and above this, we had 118 guns, of which the 
smallest calibre was thirty-two pounds, and the largest eighty- 
six pounds, in position, and the French about 200. We had 
89 mortars (of which the greatest number were thirteen inches 
diameter) and the French 1 20. It is not easy to estimate the 
guns of the Eussians, but they could not have been less than 
800. At the last they must have run quite out of ammu 
nition, since we destroyed their foundries. 

Poor Seymour 5 has been wounded for the second time by 
a fragment of a grenade at the back of the head ; still, it 
is only a flesh wound, and he will get over it. What the 
Generals will do now, we cannot tell. I hope they will not 
rest till they have driven the Eussians fairly out of the 
Crimea. I imagine they will not retain the north side long, 
for they would have quite the same difficulty on the north 
side in finding supplies as they had in provisioning the 
garrison of the city, without any compensation for their pains 
beyond that of being able to contemplate the lost city and 
the shattered fleet. I would embark 80,000 men with all 
possible despatch, and march from Eupatoria upon the Strait 
of Perekop or Simpheropol, and so either capture the whole 
disorganised army, or force it to a disastrous (unh&Uvollen) 
retreat. The Eussian army is frightfully demoralised 

4 Except the first corps cVarmee, and the Guards, and 
perhaps the half of the Grenadiers, all the corps d armee are 
in the Crimea. Thirteen divisions of infantry, 6 battalions 
of reserve, 8 ditto rifles, 30,000 men, sailors, and marines, 

5 Now General Sir Francis Seymour, the same who, our readers may 
remember, accompanied the Prince in his tour in Italy in 1839. 

1855 /A r THE CRIMEA. 363 

52 batteries of foot artillery, 8 batteries of horse artillery, 
with 64 guns, and 22,000 cavalry (including Cossacks), have 
at different times been sent in ; and, counting in 10,000 
militia, the strength of the Eussian army in the Crimea at 
the present time scarcely comes up to 130,000, and these not 
in the best condition! Our forces are 110,000 French, 
35,000 English, 12,000 Sardinians, 54,000 Turks. What we 
want is a united command. 

6 Politics on the Continent are now likely to incline more 
decidedly towards the Western Powers, and Austria should 
have every reason to feel a marked increase in her courage. 
I have read Diezel s last pamphlet on the formation of a 
National Party in Grermany with the greatest interest. It 
contains so much that is true, and is written with so much 
clearness and moderation, and at the same time with so much 
spirit, that it cannot fail to produce a decided effect.* 5 

Prince Fritz William comes here to-morrow evening. I 
have received a very friendly letter from the Princess of 

Balmoral, 13th September, 1855. 

While all were waiting anxiously for the details of what 
had led to the fall of Sebastopol, Lord Clarendon forwarded 
to the Queen a communication he had received from the 
Duke of Newcastle written on the 30th of August from the 
camp there. It went in very great detail into the state of 
the Allied armies, and the manner in which they were handled, 
and, unluckily for the character of the Duke as a prophet, 
was more of the nature of a Jeremiad of coming woe and 

6 I have been reading a very excellent new "brochure" by Diezel : Die 
~BVdimg einer Rationalen Parted in Deutschland ; eine Nothwendigkeit in der 
jetzigcn Crisis Europrfs" I am afraid they will suppress it in most parts of 
poor Germany. . . . There are Albert s words in it ; but of what use to our 
miserable people? Still it is written and printed, and I shall do my best to 
make it circulate. Oh, if I could but be a champion of liberty to my country I* 
Letter fr,om the Queen s Sister to. the Que^n^. 1st September, !So5. 


disaster, than the herald of the victory so soon to follow. 7 
Both Commanders-in-chief were equally condemned. General 
Simpson appears never to be doing, always mooning. He 
has no plan, no opinion, no hope but from the chapter of 
accidents. The command of the French army, added the 
Duke, is in hands quite as unfit. I believe Pelissier s officers 
have no ^confidence in him, and I know his soldiers dislike 
him. In short, according to the Duke, the Eussians would 
quite possibly blow up the south side of Sebastopol, but 
certainly we had no plan for taking it, if it was not given. 
The Duke had no good to say of any of the armies, except 
that of the Sardinians under General La Marmora ; but he 
concluded his long indictment, by asking Lord Clarendon to 
read it 

1 With full allowance for the feelings of a man, who sees little 
that is cheering out here but British valour and good conduct, 
and who, when he looks back to his country, sees little else than 
British failure and misconduct. I am grieved beyond measure 
at what has occurred at home since I left it. If I had not chil 
dren at home, and a name to support in my own country, I should 
linger long in Circassia, or anywhere else, for I see no chance of 
public usefulness in such a state of things as we are now reduced 
to. I often think of our dear Queen, and feel how completely 
she is, not only our main, but our only stay. There is still 
some little chivalry and much loyalty in England ; and the 
throne, occupied as it now is, may keep us above the waters, but 
there is no longer buoyancy in any public men. Never at any 
former time was the country without a man whom, rightly or 

7 There were croaking prophets at home to whom the fall of Sebastopol 
was an unwelcome surprise. In a letter from Lord Palmerston (20th of 
September) to Lord Clarendon, of which there is a copy among the Prince s 
papers, he says, speaking of another false prophecy, that it was like an eminent 
statesman s (whom he names) confident declarations made a few days before 
he heard of the fall of Sebastopol, that the town would never be taken. 
Many people, especially statesmen out of place, have a wonderful fancy for 
making prophecies. The wise thing is to deal with circumstances as they 
arise, and not to be always foretelling what is to happen, remembering, 
however, to make timely provision for the various events that may happen. 


wrongly, it looked upon with hope. Now we are all more or 
less discredited. Your Government is weak, and by no means 
popular, but the public has no favourites, whom, it wishes to see 
in your places. 

In sending the Duke of Newcastle s letter to the Queen 
Lord Clarendon sent with it a letter to himself from Lord 
Panmure, with his remarks on the Duke s criticisms. The 
news from Sebastopol was the best antidote to any discourage 
ment the Duke s letter, obviously meant for the Cabinet as it 
was, might have inspired, and Lord Panmure was able to dis 
pose of his complaints about the shortcomings in supplies 
of ammunition, clothing, stores, &c., by the announcement 
that they had all been anticipated and provided for. 

On the 17th of September, the Prince wrote, on behalf of 
the Queen, to Lord Clarendon, returning this correspondence, 
which he says they had read with much interest. Some 
portions of this letter have a permanent value : 

6 1 am sorry, the Prince writes, 6 that the Duke ever wrote 
this letter. It is at all times hazardous for one going into a 
camp and picking up information from this or that person, 
and listening to the different stories flying about there, to 
give an opinion upon plans of operation, military system, the 
merit of different men in command, but it was particularly 
so for the Duke, who fell quite into the ways of " our own 
correspondent," and from very much the same causes. This 
siege has been an anomalous one in every way, and my as 
tonishment is, that the troops have borne 350 days incessant 
hard fighting with every possible discomfort, and deaths at 
the rate of from 18 to 19,000 men during that period, without 
grumbling at their commanders and Government much more. 

When the Duke speaks of the want of plan at the time he 
wrote, it is nonsense, and the result has shown it. The only 
plan ever gone upon since May was to work up to the 
Malakoff and take it; which would cause the fall of the town, 


but could not be done without the Kedan being equally 
attacked, and the batteries on the Sapoune being pushed 
sufficiently down to reach the shipping. This was an opera 
tion of the greatest difficulty, costing the French 200, and us 
60 men a night. Yet it was nobly persevered in. Now you 
may say, this was done by the troops, and was no merit of 
the commanders. Quite true. But it had to be done, and 
the commanders could not get the town in any other way. 
If they committed a fault, it was that of allowing the French 
to besiege the west side from October till March, whilst we 
could only go on with half the east side, ending opposite the 
Malakoff, which our engineers, however, pointed out all along 
as the key of the position. 

That the commanders seem now to be without a plan is 
lamentable. But even this must be pronounced upon with 
hesitation, as we know nothing of the condition of the two 
armies since the assault, and their combined nature will make 
it exceedingly difficult to allot the parts, and organise an 
army for the field. I hope to God, it won t be a combined 
one again, but an army (however organised) entrusted to one 
leader. But this will be full of difficulty with Turks, Sar 
dinians, French, and English. Pelissier cannot ride (from his 
size), Simpson is too old, and also deficient as a horseman. 
Omar Pasha is not trusted by the French, and is certainly 
cautious. La Marmora has no claim to command the army. 

The contrast which the Duke establishes between the 
Sardinian army and ours is most unfair. ... It has not done 
a -day s work in the trenches, and but for the 16th (on the 
Tschernaja) would not have heard a shot fired. Of course, it 
used the three months rest and leisure to organise itself as 
well as possible, and still fell a greater victim to cholera than 
any other force out there. However, all accounts agree in 
representing the Sardinians as very fine troops. They have 
the inestimable advantage, that they are commanded, like 


ours, by gentlemen, but have the great advantage over us, 
that these gentlemen put the soldier above the gentleman, 
whilst from our constitutional history and national habits, the 
soldier is disliked, the officer almost seeks to excuse himself 
for being an officer, by assuming as unsoldierlike a garment 
and manner as he possibly can. The Sardinians would speak 
of a soldierlike gentleman (the impression La Marmora made 
upon the Duke), whilst we speak of a gentlemanlike officer, 
like General Estcourt, Lord Burghersh, &c. &c. All our 
civilian interference, now the increasing fashion, necessarily 
must tend to increase this evil, which may finally cause the 
ruin of our army. . . . 

The Duke of Newcastle, in the letter which we have quoted, 
and in others addressed by him from the camp to Lord 
Clarendon, called himself a grumbler, but, if so, he was a 
grumbler of no common sort. He told his impressions only to 
the Government, and in the belief, that by doing so he might 
help them in the task, of which he had so well known the 
burden. If I consulted my own interest, he wrote, I should 
either hold my tongue altogether, or publish abroad all I 
write to you privately, and thus procure the character of an 
" Administrative .Reformer," but I wish to do some good if I 
can, though I confess I feel that the time for my doing so has 
gone by. By the time he wrote this, he had seen the attack 
on the Malakoff, the success of which he imputed solely to 
the accident of the Eussians being surprised by it, at the time 
they had withdrawn from the tower for dinner. He also 
witnessed the assault on the Eedan, that promised at first so 
well, but was turned to failure from the inexperience of the 
troops, gabion fighters and raw boys, as he called them, 
engaged in it, and a failure to back it up by sufficient 
numbers even of these. 8 The Duke also rode through the city, 

8 Of the officers lie says: They fought as English gentlemen, I hope, ever 
will fight under any discouragement, and in any struggle, be it ever so hopeless ; 


on the 10th, while the heat of the burning buildings was still 
so great as to be suffocating, and marvelled at the rapidity 
and completeness of the ruin which fire had wrought on a 
city entirely built of stone. Looking at the remains of its 
beauty, its magnificent docks, its stately barracks, he exclaims, 
Verily, this is a heavy blow to the pride of Eussia ! It was 
a strange caprice of fortune that the Minister, who had 
penned the despatch which directed the expedition to Sebas- 
topol, and who had been driven from office on the groundless 
suspicion of lukewarmness in prosecuting the campaign, 
should enter the blazing city with our victorious troops. And 
what were the last words of the same letter of this lukewarm 
advocate of the war ? I am more than ever convinced, 
that we have only to go on and conquer. They will not 
wait for us to take the north side, if we show a resolve to 
have it. 

Such, however, was not the view of the Commanders-in- 
chief, and in his next letter to Lord Clarendon (15th Sep 
tember), the Duke resumes his wail of lamentation at their 
want of energy. We are stupefied with unexpected, and, in 
one sense, undeserved success paralysed with victory ! so 

and say what "Jacob Omnium," or any other journalist may, there were gallant 
lads of 17 and 18 that day, who led on their men as no bayonet officer, fine 
fellows as many of them are, ever can or will. Alas! not one of these noble 
boys, I fear, returned alive, and in their rank, and at their age, not one of them 
could have been spirited on to deeds of untold heroism by any other means than 
love of their honour and a high sense of duty to their Queen and their country. 
As to the men, to whom the terrible task of storming the Redan was entrusted, 
this is what was said of them in a letter (llth of September) to Colonel Phipps 
from a distinguished officer of the Guards : Nothing could be better than the 
way in which our stormers led into the Redan, and, from all I hear, nothing could 
be much worse than the manner in which the supports not only hesitated, but 
declined to follow their officers. It is the old story, England annihilates all 
her old soldiers in a first campaign, and then is fain to believe the specious 
twaddle of the newspapers, that they can be replaced by the half-grown, ha f- 
drilled boys that come here as recruits. One regiment of old soldiers would 
have taken the Redan in half-an-hour, and we could then have claimed half 
the victory as ours. These are words that cannot surely be too firmly kept 
before the eyes of military reformers. 

1855 NOT FOLLOWED UP. 369 

astounded and stunned by our triumph, that we are motion 
less apparently incapable of counsel, as we are of action. 
This conclusion was shared by the Government at home. 
The absolute want of initiative on the part of Generals Simp 
son and Pelissier seemed to them incomprehensible. As the 
Queen wrote to Lord Panmure (2nd October), there may be 
good reasons why the army should not move, but we have 
only one .... When General Simpson telegraphed before, 
that he must wait to know the intentions and plans of the 
Russians, the Queen was tempted to advise a reference to 
St. Petersburg for them ! The Duke of Newcastle found 
his impatience at this waiting policy becoming so intolerable, 
that he could not bear longer to be an eyewitness of it. I 
am becoming such a grumbler, he wrote, that I will leave 
this place immediately, and I hope my next to you will be 
from Circassia ! s 

But while the great crisis, at which the war had now ar 
rived, was engaging the anxious attention not merely of the 
Cabinet, but also of the Queen and Prince, a domestic event 
was in progress, than which none could come more closely 
home to their hearts the betrothal of their eldest child. On 
the 13th of September the Prince, as we have seen, had 
written to Baron Stockrnar, the Prince Fritz William comes 

9 The information obtained from the Kussians themselves, after peace was 
concluded, showed that the civilians were right, and the Commanders-iu-chiof 
wrong. Many proofs of this are before us ; but we have only space to cite 
what was said on this subject by Sir Edmund Lyons. He visited Sebastopol 
in July 18o6, when he had opportunities of free communication with Russian 
officers as to the events of the siege. Writing to General Grey on the 28th 
of that month, he says : The Eussians admit, that if we had sent 30,000 
men to Nicolaieff, and 20,000 men to Kaffa and Arabat, as poor Bruat and I 
urged Pelissier to do, immediately after the fall of the south side, success at 
both places wauld have been certain. And again : They admitted un 
hesitatingly that if we had threatened a landing between Sebastopol and 
Kupatoria after the fall of the south side, they would have left the Crimea by 
all the practicable routes ; but, as you know, Pelissier laughed me to scorn 
for proposing it. 



here to-morrow evening. The old man s heart doubtless beat 
more quickly than usual, as he read the words, for it had 
long been his hope to see this young Prince united to the 
Princess Koyal the child of his special regard and an 
alliance thus cemented between England and the only other 
great Protestant State of Europe. The young people were 
known to each other, and Prince Frederick William came 
prepared with the consent of his parents and of the King of 
Prussia to ask for the hand of the Princess on whom his 
heart had for some time been set. We can picture the 
pleasure with which Baron Stockmar read the following 
passage in a letter from the Prince : 

Now for the " bonne bouche ! " The event you are in 
terested in reached an active stage this morning after break 
fast. The young man laid his proposal before us with the 
permission of his parents, and of the King ; we accepted it 
for ourselves, but requested him to hold it in suspense as 
regards the other party till after her Confirmation. Till then 
all the simple unconstraint of girlhood is to continue un 
disturbed. In the spring the young man wishes to make his 
offer to herself, and possibly to come to us along with his 
parents and his engaged sister. The seventeenth birthday is 
to have elapsed before the actual marriage is thought of, and 
this will therefore not come off till the following spring. 

The secret is to be kept tant bien gue mal, the parents 
and the King being informed of the true state of the case 
forthwith namely, that we, the parents and the young man, 
are under a pledge, so far as such pledge is possible, and that 
the young lady herself is to be asked after her Confirmation. 
In the meantime there will be much to discuss ; and I would 
entreat of you to come to us soon, that we may talk over 
matters face to face, and hear what you have to advise. The 
young gentleman is to leave us again on the 28th. In this 


matter he placed himself at our disposal ; and I suggested 
fourteen days as not too long and not too short for a visit of 
the kind. I have been much pleased with him. His chiefly 
prominent qualities are great straightforwardness, frankness, 
and honesty. He appears to be free from prejudices, and 
pre-eminently well-intentioned ; he speaks of himself as 
personally greatly attracted by Vicky. That she will have 
no objection to make, I regard as probable. 

Balmoral, 20th September, 1855. 

The next day Prince Albert was seized with an. attack of 
rheumatism in the left shoulder, from which he suffered for 
some time most acutely. I have endured frightful torture, 
is the entry in his Diary on the 22nd. On the 23rd, not 
much better. On the 25th, I continue to suffer terribly. 
To this attack, significant of derangement of the health from 
the too great strain upon the system, caused by continued 
work and anxiety, the Prince refers in his next letter to 
Baron Stockmar : 

If I have not written to you for a week, this has arisen 
from my not being able to hold a pen, and even now I shall 
only be able to manage it but indifferently. I have had a 
regular attack of lumbago ( Hexenschuss) in my right 
shoulder, wi+h spasms in the right arm, which made it all 
but impossible for me to move, and, worse than all, caused 
me nights of sleeplessness arid pain. Now I am better again, 
though still " a cripple." 

4 Victoria is greatly excited still all goes smoothly and 
prudently. The Prince is really in love, and the little 
lady does her best to please him. . . . The day after 
to-morrow the young gentleman takes his departure. We 
have to-day received the answers from Coblenz, 10 where they 

10 Where the Crown Prince and Princess of Prussia were at the time. 

B B 2 


are in raptures ; the communication has been made to the 
King at Stolzenfels, and has been hailed by him with cordial 
satisfaction. They are quite at one with us as to the post 
ponement of the betrothal till after the Confirmation, and of 
the marriage till after the seventeenth birthday. 

Lord Clarendon sends warm congratulations on the alli 
ance, and has heard the highest encomiums on the young 
man. Lord Palmerston says, " He trusts that the event, 
when it takes place, will contribute as much to the happiness 
of those more immediately concerned, and to the comfort of 
Your Majesty and the Eoyal family, as it undoubtedly will to 
the interests of the two countries and of Europe in general." 
Now, however, you must come to us, for we have very much 
to talk over. 

Balmoral, 28th September, 1855. 

To keep the secret from the young lady, as first proposed, 
was obviously impossible. On devine ceux qui vous aimentj 
as the Emperor of the French said in his letter to the Prince 
quoted at the beginning of this chapter. What happened on 
the morrow is thus told in The Leaves from a Journal : 

29th September, 1855. 

Our dear Victoria was this day engaged to Prince Frederick 
William of Prussia, who had been on a visit to us since the 14th. 
He had already spoken to us, on the 20th, of his wishes ; but 
we were uncertain, on account of her extreme youth, whether 
he should speak to her himself, or wait till he came back again. 
However, we felt it was better he should do so, and during our 
ride up Craig-na-I>an this afternoon, he picked a piece of white 
heather (the emblem of " good luck ") which he gave to her ; 
and this enabled him to make an allusion to his hopes and wishes 
as they rode down Glen Girnocli, which led to this happy con 

In the following letter the Prince continues to his friend 
the story of the betrothal : 


Prince Fritz William left us yesterday. Vicky has indeed 
behaved quite admirably, as well during the closer explana 
tion on Saturday, as in the self-command which she dis 
played subsequently and at the parting. She manifested 
towards Fritz and ourselves the most child-like simplicity 
and candour, and the best feeling. The young people are 
ardently in love with one another, and the purity, innocence, 
and unselfishness of the young man have been on his part 
equally touching .... Abundance of tears were shed. 
While deep visible revolutions in the emotional natures of 
the two young people and of the mother were taking place, 
by which they were powerfully agitated, my feeling was 
rather one of cheerful satisfaction and gratitude to Grod, for 
bringing across our path so much that was noble and good, 
where it may, nay must, conduce to the happiness for life of 
those whom He has endowed with those qualities, and who 
are in themselves so dear to me. 

The real object of my writing to you now is to enclose 
Vicky s letter to you, which goes with this, and in which 
the child finds vent for her own feelings. Let me once 
more adjure you to come to us soon. We have so much to 
talk over. 

At Sebastopol our Generals appear to be suffering under 
a remarkable lack of brains. There are good builders there, 
at any rate, for our people are unable to make a breach any 
where . . . . 

I am tortured and tormented with rheumatism, and can 
scarcely hold the pen. 

Balmoral, 2nd October, 1855. 

Such an event as that which had just occurred in the 
Royal home was sure, somehow or other, despite every effort 
at secrecy, to get wind. Surmise had already been busy 
with the name of the young Prussian prince ; and now The 


, in a leading article on the 3rd of October, spoke of 
the projected alliance in language as little considerate to the 
feelings of the Sovereign and her husband, or of the young 
people themselves, as it was insulting to the Prussian King 
and nation, and indeed, to all Germany. To this the Prince 
alludes in the following letter : 

6 Dear Stockmar, Your long letter reached me safely two 
days ago. Since then you will have received so much news 
from here that there is no longer occasion to answer much of 
what you say in it. Still, I am anxious to omit nothing that 
is essential to your full knowledge of the affair. . . . The 
present position of the business is this. The son s offer, and 
our acceptance, in so far as we ourselves are concerned, has 
been communicated to the parents in writing, and in my 
letter to the Prince s father I requested him to inform the 
uncle [the King], in our name, how thoroughly we regard his 
support of his nephew s proposal as a proof of his friendship, 
and to say that our sole reason for not writing to himself 
is, that we wish the offer to the Princess herself postponed till 
after the Confirmation. What has taken place since has 
certainly altered the position of matters at home, still we see 
much political and personal convenience in adhering, as far 
as others are concerned, to the position which was originally 
taken up. . . . For any public declaration of betrothal we 
are at present quite unprepared. We have not yet had an 
opportunity of speaking with any of our Ministers ; we must 
deal circumspectly towards France. 

The Times has fired off an article (on the 3rd) that is at 
once truly scandalous in itself and degrading to the country, 
with a view to provoke hostile public opinion, but happily it 
has excited universal disgust by its extravagance and dis 
courtesy. Victoria has written to our Ally, and expressed 
to him our hopes for Vicky s future as a proof of personal 


confidence, and I doubt not he will acknowledge it as such. 
A sense of decorum demands that the affair should not 
be publicly discussed before the Confirmation. In the 
meantime we shall have leisure to arrange whatever is right. 
Your good counsel at our elbow is indispensably necessary 
for us, so come to us as soon as your health will let you. The 
secret, as you say, will be no secret, but no one will have any 
right to talk of the affair publicly. The Eoyal family here 
know what every one knows viz. that a preliminary offer 
has been made, and that it is to be renewed after Easter. 
Balmoral, 7th October, 1855. 

The Times article was one of the worst of a series, by which 
the leading journal had done its best to make England de 
tested throughout Grerinany a result not to be wondered at, 
when the tone and language are considered, which the writers, 
professing to represent English opinion, thought proper to 
adopt. To talk of Prussia, as this article did, as a paltry 
German dynasty, which could not f survive the downfall of 
Russian influence, showed as little political sagacity as good 
taste. It was hard enough for a nation to have to bear with 
the weak, but well-meaning Sovereign, then upon the throne. 
That contempt should be poured upon themselves and upon 
the scions of the Royal House, to whom they justly looked 
forward to assert for them in due time a dignified position 
among the other States of Europe, was intolerable. 

The young Prince Frederick William and his father were 
notoriously hostile to the principles of the party at Berlin, 
which had done its best to prostrate Prussia at the feet of 
the Czar. But it suited the purpose of the journalist to 
speak of the future husband of the English Princess Royal, 
as destined to enter the Russian service, and to pass these 
years which flattering anticipation now destines to a crown 
in ignominious attendance as a general officer on the levee 


of his Imperial master, having lost even the privilege of his 
birth, which is conceded to no German in Russia. In the 
same spirit ,the English people were asked to contemplate 
the probability of their Princess becoming anti-English in 
feeling, and being sent back to them at no distant date as 
an exile and a fugitive. 

It was too palpable to escape notice, at whom, under 
cover of this attack on Prussia, the blow was really intended 
to be struck. This was no other than the Prince Consort, 
for, if all the writer said were true, it necessarily followed 
that in sanctioning this alliance the Prince was giving proof 
of those sympathies with the despotic dynasties of the Con 
tinent, and of Russia in particular, which it suited a certain 
class of writers to insinuate against him. He could, however, 
afford to bear in silence the surmises of such accurate ob 
servers, knowing as he did that the whole influence of his 
life had been exerted in support of the right of every civilised 
nation to a dominant voice in the administration of its own 
affairs, and that no consideration, public or private, would 
have induced the Queen or himself to imperil the happiness 
of their child by a marriage, in which she could not have 
found scope to practise the constitutional principles in which 
she had been reared. 



THE fall of Sebastopol was a step, and an important one, 
towards bringing Russia to terms ; still it was only a step. 
We knew with some accuracy how her resources had been 
strained. The troops in the Crimea were greatly straitened 
for provisions. A great deficiency in the last harvest 
throughout South Russia had reduced the supply of corn 
there to what was wanted for local consumption. Supplies 
of corn food could not be obtained except from a distance of 
from three to five hundred miles ; and as these had all to be 
transported by land, and a horse in that distance would 
consume more than he could draw or carry, it had become 
practically impossible to keep up the supplies. Up to the end 
of August the losses of the Russians in the Crimea itself were 
understood to amount to at least 153,000 men. By Prince 
Gortschakoffs own admission the decisive 8th of September 
had cost them 39 superior and 328 subaltern officers and 
11,228 men. Still they clung tenaciously to the north side 
of Sebastopol, and to the commanding positions by which 
they were able to check any direct advance by the Allies. 
The Government gave no sign that they were disposed to 
treat for peace ; indeed, the Czar, in an Imperial Rescript 
(20th September), while congratulating the garrison of the 
city on having left only blood-stained ruins to the enemy, 
whom they had kept for eleven months at bay by their noble 
courage and self-denial, appealed with unabated resolution 


to them to continue the conflict in defence of Orthodox 
Russia, who had taken up arms for a just cause the cause 
of Christianity. This manifesto was followed by a rumour 
that a Eussian council of war at Nicolaieff, at which the 
Czar was present, had decided to hazard a great battle, 
on the issue of which would depend whether they would 
evacuate the Crimea or not. 

It was natural that the people at home should be im 
patient for some forward movement of the Allied forces to 
follow up the blow dealt at Sebastopol, before the Russians 
had time to recover from the discouragement and exhaustion 
under which they were then labouring. Had these forces 
been under one general, and acting for Governments moved 
by one interest and by one purpose, it is more than probable 
that they would not have been allowed to remain as they 
did, pent up in the positions which they had so long occu 
pied, with only the difference, that the ruins of half the city 
had fallen into their hands. But the views at Paris were 
not identical with those in London. There people were 
beginning to say that in taking Sebastopol enough had been 
done. The honours of war had of late rested chiefly with 
the French. The chances of a fresh campaign might, 
perhaps, dim some of their present lustre ; while the ex 
penses of another winter in the Crimea must run up to a 
figure which the Emperor s Government professed itself 
unable to face. The season was far advanced, and the 
English Grovernment learned with some dismay that the 
order had been given to recall a large portion of the French 
force to France. Assurances were at the same time given 
that they would be replaced by equal numbers. This might 
or might not be the case, but at all events it soon became 
apparent that any great movement must be reserved for a 
spring campaign. 

Meanwhile some minor successes helped still further to 


cripple the Eussian resources. After keeping Odessa in 
panic for some days by anchoring off the city, a portion of 
the Allied fleet proceeded to Kinburn, where the united 
rivers of the Bug and the Dnieper fall into the Black Sea 
through a channel protected by three forts. A fierce bom 
bardment of a few hours (17th October) silenced the guns of 
the forts, and Tapon this the garrison, 1,500 strong, with 70 
guns, were forced to surrender. A few days later (29th 
October) a strong force of Russian cavalry was defeated near 
Eupatoria by three regiments of French cavalry under 
General d Allonville, supported by a body of Turkish and 
Egyptian cavalry under Achmet Pasha. In Asia Minor 
General Mouravieff had sustained a most serious defeat 
before Kars on the 29th of September, in which 5,000 
Eussians had been left dead on the field a -defeat which 
must have led to the raising of the siege but for the culpable 
failure of the Porte and its allies to send relief to the 
starving heroes by whom it had been inflicted. What might 
have been done, had prompt and vigorous measures been 
taken to attack the Russians in Asia Minor, was seen by the 
success of Omar Pasha with the comparatively small Turkish 
force with which he advanced from Redoute Kaleh to the 
Ingo-ur, where he encountered and defeated the Russians on 
the 6th of November. But the same want of unity of 
counsel and control, which checked any vigorous action 
in the Crimea, aggravated in this instance by the jealousies 
and inertness -which prevailed at Constantinople, arrested 
any such decisive action in Asia Minor as would have 
prevented the bulwark of Asia Minor 1 from passing into 

1 Kars was so called by General Mouravieff, in the Order of the Day which 
he issued upon its fall. Kars surrendered on the 28th of November, the 
garrison marching out with all the honours of war, and the officers of all 
ranks retaining their swords. Famine did what the superior forces of the 
Russians could not do. The bitter feeling created, throughout England by the 
news of this close to the (splendid courage and endurance displayed in the 


the hands of the adversary whom it had triumphantly held 
at bay. 

If the ardour, never great, of France for the war, had 
somewhat abated, such was not the case with England. She 
was more than ever bent upon pursuing it to an effective 
close. All her energies had been devoted to strengthening 
herself for the task. She was determined to show that, if 
her system had brought suffering and disaster on her soldiers, 
she knew how to make atonement for the past by a future, 
in which their endurance and their valour should be put to 
no unfair trial through want of due provision for the con 
tingencies of warfare. Our dockyards and arsenals were 
busily adding to the already overwhelming strength of our 
fleet, and the country provided with lavish hands whatever 
funds were necessary to enable its generals to lead their 
troops wherever they determined that the enemy might be 
assailed with the best assurance of success. 

But the question who these generals should be had now 
become urgent. General Simpson, feeling more strongly 
than ever that the task entrusted to him was too heavy for 
his hands, and also conscious, perhaps, that he had not in 
spired the Government with the confidence necessary for his 
own peace of mind, resigned the Commandership-in-chief. 
There was no one so pre-eminent for military genius or 
distinguished service, that on him the office could by general 
consent be devolved. Several at once suggested themselves, all 
with qualifications that entitled them to high consideration, 
but their merits were so evenlv balanced that it was hard to 

defence of Kars, was fully shared by the Sovereign. The fall of Kars, which 
can now no longer be doubted, the Queen wrote (12th December) to Lord Cla 
rendon, is indeed a disgrace to the Allies, who have kept 200,000 men since 
September in the Crimea " to make roads ! " The chief blame, however, rests 
certainly with Marshal Pelissier, who would not let any troops go to the relief 
of the garrison, whilst he must have premeditated not using his army in the 


say who should be preferred ; while it was impossible to 
select one without wounding the susceptibilities of others, 
who might complain of a slight, were a younger or less ex 
perienced man to be put over their heads. To find any 
officer against whom nothing can be said, Lord Palmerston 
wrote (16th October) to the Prince, implies the choice 
either of such men as Wellington or Napoleon, or of men 
who have never been employed at all; and that of itself 
would be an absolute disqualification. 

The dilemma in which the Government were thus placed 
as to the appointment of a successor to General Simpson was 
the subject of anxious communications between them and 
the Sovereign. They were still unable to see their way out 
of it, when the Prince wrote to Lord Palmerston from 
Balmoral on the 12th of October. The subject, he said, 
6 is all day long engrossing my attention, and he proceeded to 
develop a plan, which had struck him as likely to diminish 
present difficulties, whilst it will hold out many general 
advantages. This plan was the subdivision of the army 
into two Corps-$armee, each under the command of a senior 
officer of high position, and subject to the general control of 
the Commander-in-Chief. The balance of opinion, as the 
Prince knew, was in favour of the appointment of Sir 
William Codrington as General Simpson s successor. But he 
was junior to three Generals, each of whom might aspire to 
the office. 2 Something must be done to conciliate their 
feelings, and the Prince thought that they might be reconciled 
to his being placed over their heads, if two of their number 

2 One of these was Sir Colin Campbell, who returned to England on leave 
about this time. When the arrangement suggested by the Prince, as mentioned 
in the text, was carried out, the Queen saw him, and having stated how much 
she wished that his valuable services should not be lost in the Crimea, he 
replied, that he would return immediately, for that, if the Queen wished it, 
he was ready to serve under a corporal. (Letter from the Queen to Lord 
Hardinge, Nov. 22, 1855.) 


were appointed to the command of the proposed Corps- 
(Tarmee. The other arrangements which would follow, if 
this course were adopted, would increase the efficiency of the 
control of the army, and be agreeable to its officers. The 
general advantages of his plan, the Prince considered, would 
be, that while strengthening the arrangements for super 
vision, it would diminish the labours of the Commander- 
in-Chief, and make a large body of troops more easy to 

Both Lord Raglan and General Simpson, he writes, have 
declared their inability to trouble themselves much about 
plans of campaign, while their whole time was taken up with 
writing and correspondence, and the last of the considera 
tions he had mentioned was of peculiar importance, from 
the nature of the present war, which may require divided 
operations. These views were developed in detail by the 
Prince, and he concluded his letter by the request that it 
might be considered by the Cabinet, and that Lord Hardinge 
might be consulted on the subject. 

The Prince s proposal was taken into consideration by the 
Military Committee of the Cabinet, and by them discussed 
with Lord Hardinge. On the 16th of October Lord Palmer- 
ston wrote to the Prince, that the arrangement which he 
had suggested was regarded by Lord Hardinge as one which 
would be advantageous to Her Majesty s service in the 
Crimea, and he added, agreeing as the members of the 
Cabinet did on the conclusive force of the arguments in its 
favour which were stated in your Royal Highness s letter, 
we unanimously determined to propose this arrangement to 
the Cabinet for adoption. The Cabinet, when the matter 
was brought before them, arrived at the same determination. 
I have only to say further, Lord Palrnerston writes in con 
clusion, c that I and all the other members of the Cabinet 
feel greatly obliged to your Royal Highness for having sug- 


gested an arrangement which had not occurred to any of us, 
but which when proposed and explained at once obtained the 
absent of all those whose duty it was to take it into con 
sideration. Thus did the calm clear head, ever at work for 
the welfare of the State and the guidance of the Sovereign, 
resolve, amid the silence of the hills, a problem for which 
neither the Cabinet nor the Commander-in-Chief had found 
a solution. 

On the 17th of October the Queen and Prince returned 
to Windsor Castle, having halted for a night at Edinburgh 
on the way. The Prince had been able to shake off the severe 
attack of rheumatism, thanks to the bracing air of the north, 
and a few days of good sport in the deer-forest. No sooner 
was he back in the south, than he resumed the unintermitting 
work which always awaited him there. It was at this time 
that our Government learned, not without dismay, the inten 
tion of the French Emperor to withdraw 100,000 men from 
the Crimea, on the ground that public opinion in France 
would not support him in the expense of maintaining so 
large a force there during the winter doing nothing, and 
exposed to a continuance of hardships, which had already 
told severely upon the health of the troops. Such a 
purpose, if carried out, could not fail to act as an en 
couragement to Russia. There was no reason to doubt the 
determination of the Emperor to go hand in hand with us 
loyally to the last in effecting the object for which we had 
embarked in the war, but the same confidence was not felt, 
that influences were not at work in the enemy s interest at 
Paris to embarrass both his Government and ours in the 
event of negotiations for peace being opened by Russia. 
What happened soon afterwards showed that this mistrust 
was not wholly unfounded. 

Such was the position of affairs when the Prince addressed 
the following letter to Baron Stockmar : 


6 There has been a terrible pause in our correspondence, 
occasioned partly by our changing our quarters to Windsor, 
partly, however, by your letter of the 6th, which points at 
another in continuation of it to follow immediately. Up to 
this moment it has not made its appearance ; but I cannot 
wait longer. We are all well. We miss the fine mountains 
and the pure air of Balmoral, but are on the other hand in 
demnified for these by a superabundance of business. 

I have worked out a plan for the Eeorganisation of our 
Army in the Crimea, and its division into two Corps-d armee, 
under one chief, which has been adopted by the Ministry, and 
will, I hope, bear good fruits. Sir W. Codrington gets the 
Commandership-in-Chief, Sir Colin Campbell and Sir W. 
E} r re take the Divisions, General Wyndham becomes Chief 
of the General Staff, Generals Simpson, Bentinck, Markham, 
and Airy return. 

I have just completed a Memoir on Examinations and 
New Eules of Admission for the Diplomatic Body, a question 
which has been stirred by the Administrative Eeform agita 
tion, and am now engaged in preparing an address on the in 
fluence of Science and Art on our Manufactures, which I am 
to deliver at the laying of the foundation stone of the 
Birmingham and Midland Counties Institute. 

Our Cabinet has sustained a loss in Sir William Moles worth, 
as to whose successor no decision has yet been come. Lord 
Elgin is likely to come into the Cabinet in Lord Canning s 
place. There are people who maintain that young Lord Stanley 
(Lord Derby s son) is to be had. This would not be more re 
markable than the prevailing belief that the Peelites have 
come to an understanding with Disraeli, and will, along with 
Cobden and Bright, and perhaps John Kussell, form a Peace 

Up to this time the peace feeling has been stronger in 
France than here, and gives us much to do. This justifies 


the apprehension you have long entertained. What is said 
is : " Si la France doit continuer la guerre a grands sacri 
fices^ il lui faut des objets plus nationaux, plus Francais : 
Poland, Italy, the left bank of the Ehine, &c. 3 For this we 
are prepared, and for these purposes might recall our army 
from the Black Sea by degrees." Herein lies one of the 
causes of our inactivity in the Crimea ! The position taken 
up by Austria and Prussia is alone to blame for all, and I 
tremble for the Nemesis ! 

In the matrimonial affair, nothing new has transpired. I 
am giving Vicky every evening an hour for conversation, in 
which our chief topic is history. She knows a great deal. I 
also give her subjects, which she works out for me. Her in 
tellect is quick and thoroughly sound (richtig) in its operations. 

As you speak to me in your letter of the value of the right 
time in human measures, a theme on which you often dis 
course, it may perhaps interest you to know how completely 
Napoleon agrees with you in one of his letters to his brother 
Joseph. I transcribe the passage: "Ce sont la les operations 
de la paix; tout cela doit venir avec elle, et cette paix 
arrivera. Le moyen de faire entendre a des hommes de 
I imagination de M. Roederer QUE LE TEMPS EST LE GRAND 
ART DE L HOMME, que ce qui ne doit etre fait qu en 1810 ne 
peut etre fait en 1 807 ! La fibre Gauloise ne se plie pas au 
calcul du temps. C est cependant par cette seule considera 
tion que fai reussi dans tout ce que fai fait." 

Now I will conclude with my ceterum censeo., " that you 
are to come to us." You are most longingly looked for. 

Windsor Castle, 29th October, 1855. 

3 The folly of the last of these projects, so steadily fomented through a 
long series of years by M. Thiers and others a folly to be afterwards so bitterly 
expiated needed no demonstration. On the llth of April, 1855, in a letter 
from the Queen to Lord Clarendon, these prophetic words occur : The first 
Frenchman who should hostilcly approach the Rhino would set the whole of Ger 
many on fire 



The Prince had now added to his long list of correspond 
ents, another in the person of his future son-in-law. From 
him he had received a letter, in which, among other things, 
the young Prince spoke in strong terms of reprobation of the 
devices resorted to by the reactionary party in Prussia to 
secure the return of a majority of mere Grovernment tools to the 
National Assembly. The terms of the Prince s reply on this 
subject are a striking commentary on the suspicions referred 
to at the close of the last chapter, as to his sympathy with 
the despotic governments of the Continent. As addressed to 
the future Sovereign of a great Empire, the whole letter is 
full of interest and instruction : 

My dear Fritz, Accept my best thanks for your friendly 
lines of the 22nd ult. 

The state of Prussia, as you describe it, is most critical, 
and designs such as those contemplated by the reactionists, 
prosecuted by such means as are at this moment practised in 
regard to the elections, may result in extreme danger to the 
monarchy. For if the world be overruled by a Grod, as I 
believe it is, vile and wicked actions must bear evil fruits, 
which frequently do not show themselves at once, but long 
years afterwards, as the Bible tells us in the words, the sins 
of the fathers are visited on the children to the third and 
fourth generation. This being so, I ask myself, what the 
duties of those who are to come after are in reference to the 
sowing of such dragon s teeth ? And I am constrained to 
answer to myself, that they are enjoined by morality, 
conscience, and patriotism, not to stand aloof as indifferent 
spectators of the destruction of a Constitution that has been 
sworn to. And when I consider what I should do in the 
present state of things, this much is quite clear to me, that 
I would record a solemn protest against such proceedings, 
not by way of opposition to the Grovernment, but in defence 


of the rights of those, whose rights I should regard as 
inseparable from my own those of my country and my 
people and in order that I might absolve my conscience 
from any suspicion of participation in the unholy work. At 
the same time, however, that my conduct might be divested 
of every semblance of being dictated by a spirit of opposition 
or desire for popularity, and in order, it may be, to make 
the step itself unnecessary I should in all confidence make 
those who are contemplating the wrong aware, that, if it 
were persisted in, I should feel myself compelled to adopt 
this course. This done, I should entertain no animosity 
towards my friends, but, on the contrary, should live on 
upon terms of peace with the reigning powers. 

I am satisfied, that an attitude of this kind would inspire 
the delinquents with a certain measure of alarm, and help to 
keep the nation from losing all hope, and there is no such 
solid basis for patience as hope. 

6 In your letter to Victoria of the 3rd, which she received 
yesterday, you speak of your new labours and studies in the 
different Ministerial departments. When you have worked 
in them for some time, the truth will become obvious to 
you of Axel Oxenstiern s saying, "My son, you will be sur 
prised, with how little wisdom the world is governed." J am 
only afraid, that it will be nobody s interest to explain 
essential principles to you, and that, on the contrary, they 
will try, perhaps not unintentionally, to overwhelm you with 
the multiplicity of details and of so-called work. But this 
good must at any rate ensue, that you will become thoroughly 
acquainted with what is making history. Most German 
bureaucrats cannot, and even will not, see the wood for the 
trees ; they even regard the abstract idea of the wood 
as something dangerous, and measure its value by the 
density with which the trees are huddled together, not by 
the vigour of their growth. Added to which, the weight 


and number of German official documents is something 

; In another way Vicky is also very busy : she has learned 
much in many directions. . . . She now comes to me every 
evening from six to seven, when I put her through a kind of 
general catechizing, and in order to give precision to her ideas, 
I make her work out certain subjects by herself, and bring 
me the results to be revised. Thus she is now engaged in 
writing a short Compendium of Roman History. . . . 

Of late we have had rains without intermission, which 
have made us apprehensive of floods. Prices of all kinds are 
still frightfully high, still there is nothing like poverty in 
the country, and the wages of labour are so high, that recruiting 
does not go on so well as we could wish. 

6 From the Crimea we have excellent news, so far as the 
condition of the troops and the preparations for the winter 
are concerned, but not as to any vigorous effort to drive the 
Russians from the Crimea. Our army will by the spring 
number on the spot 50,000 men, which, with the Turkish 
contingent of 20,000 men under General Vivian, and 15,000 
Sardinians, exclusive of French and Turks, will form a very 
imposing force. 

c Now, however, I will indeed " let you go," as they say in 

Windsor Castle, 6th November, 1855. 

A few days after this letter was written, the Queen and 
Prince were much distressed by the tidings that Her 
Majesty s brother, Prince Leiningen, had been struck with 
apoplexy, which, however he might rally for a time, they 
felt was virtually a death-blow to a man of his energetic and 
active habits of mind. Allusion to this is made in the follow 
ing letter by the Prince to Baron Stockmar : 

I have not written to you for a long time, having been 


always under the conviction I should one day hear from the 
children, "Do you know, Papa, that the Baron is in his 
room below ? " The Baron, however, is not there, as I have 
only too good cause to know, and I wish I could feel confi 
dent that he was coming ! November and December in 
Coburg are wretched months, and anything but good for 
your health ; here it is much better, and this you know ! 
We positively must have some talk face to face with you, 
if everything is to go well, and for this much depends on 

Charles s apoplectic stroke was very serious, and causes 
much concern and apprehension for the future. It will be a 
source of no small anxiety to himself. 

The troops will go into winter quarters in the Crimea. 
After beginning the campaign last year with 25,000 men 
and 35 guns, and well-nigh losing our whole army in the 
disastrous siege, we stand there now with 51,000 men, 94 
field-pieces (bespannten Geschiitzen) and 4.000 cavalry, and 
our Turkish legion is good for 20,000 men, besides which the 
regiments of the Foreign Legion will by the spring amount 
to 10,000 men; four excellent regiments, two German and 
two Swiss, have already been despatched to Constantinople. 
In Malta we have organised a depot of 10,000 men. This 
is no bad result after the taking of Sebastopol. 

In Paris the passion for peace has infected the moneyed 
interest, and the war will yet cost a great deal of money. 
Here the enthusiasm is unabated, and the resources unim 
paired. By the spring we shall have 150 steam and mortar 
boats, of a new construction, capable of sailing in all waters. 
In 1853 we had not one. 

Let me soon hear from you but two words : " I am coming." 

Windsor Castle, November 19th, 1855. 

In the midst of the numberless public questions of moment 


which preoccupied the Prince s attention, he had found 
time to prepare one of his most suggestive addresses for the 
occasion of his laying the first stone of the Birmingham and 
Midland Institute. On the 22nd of November he performed 
this ceremony, and delivered his address at a banquet in the 
Town Hall immediately afterwards. There were many austere 
critics present on the occasion, some of them themselves 
great speakers. The impression produced upon them by the 
Prince was that of a man, who had not only thought for 
himself, but thought deeply on subjects which they had 
themselves made the study of their lives, and who possessed a 
power of expressing his thoughts with a masterly precision and 
conciseness, which they despaired to rival, while suggesting 
at the same time new and wide veins of speculation into 
which his ideas might be developed. The object of the 
Institute, expressed by the Prince himself as being the 
introduction of science and art as the unconscious regulators of 
productive industry, science, to discover the laws of nature, 
art to teach their application was one for which he felt the 
strongest sympathy. If work, the lot of the mass of man 
kind, is ever to be otherwise than irksome, the head must 
guide the hand, the principles which regulate the forces 
with which we come in contact, as well as the ends which all 
work serves, must be understood, the workman must take an 
intelligent pride in the product of his skill. To serve 
towards this result in the heart of one of the great hives of 
skilled industry being the purpose of the Institute, the Prince 
naturally seized the opportunity to speak out his own strong- 
convictions as to the direction to be given to the education 
of the class for whose benefit the Institute was intended. 
After pointing out what science had done for mankind, 
and the infinite prospects of valuable knowledge yet to be 
won within its domain, the Prince thus concluded his ad 
dress : 


The study of the laws by which the Almighty governs the 
Universe is therefore our bounden duty. Of these laws our great 
academies and seats of education have, rather arbitrarily, selected 
only two spheres or groups (as I may call them) as essential 
parts of our national education : the laws which regulate quantities 
and proportions, which form the subject of mathematics, and the 
laws regulating the expression of our thoughts, through the me 
dium of language, that is to say, grammar, which finds its purest 
expression in the classical languages. These laws are most im 
portant branches of knowledge, their study trains and elevates 
the mind, but they are not the only ones ; there are others which 
we cannot disregard, which we cannot do without. 

There are, for instance, the laws governing the human mind, 
and its relation to the Divine Spirit (the subject of logic and me 
taphysics) ; there are those which govern our bodily nature and 
its connection with the soul (the subject of physiology and 
psychology) ; those which govern human society, and the rela 
tions between man and man (the subjects of politics, jurispru 
dence, and political economy) ; and many others. 

Whilst of the laws just mentioned some have been recognised 
as essentials of education in different institutions, and some will, 
by the course of time, more fully assert their right to recognition, 
the laws regulating matter and form are those which will con 
stitute the chief object of your pursuits ; and, as the principle of 
subdivision of labour is the one most congenial to our age, I 
would advise you to keep to this speciality, and to follow with 
undivided attention chiefly the sciences of mechanics, physics, 
and chemistry, and the fine arts in painting, sculpture, and 

You will thus have conferred an inestimable boon upon your 
country, and in a short time have the satisfaction of witnessing 
the beneficial results upon our national powers of production. 
Other parts of the country will, I doubt not, emulate your ex 
ample ; and I live in hope that all these institutions will some 
day find a central point of union, and thus complete their national 

Two days afterwards the Prince wrote to Baron Stockmar : 
4 Still no tidings of your starting, and it grows colder and 


colder ! Nevertheless, important events are pressing on here, 
and we are in all manner of perplexities, in which your good 
advice would be extremely useful. 

4 To-day I will only tell you of the success of my expedition 
to Birmingham. You will have seen my address in The 
Times of the 23rd. It has met with great success, and 
attracted much notice ; I hope also for your approval, which 
I care for much more than for that of our unsophisticated 
public. 4 Not to scatter incense for myself, but to give you 
pleasure, I send you the leading article of the Herald, a 
paper which, together with the Advertiser and the Daily 
News, was particularly hostile to me. The Post, Morning 
Chronicle, Globe, Spectator, Economist, &c., contain articles 
equally complimentary. 

4 We expect the King of Sardinia on Friday for a week, 
are busy with the preparations, and have a hard week s work 
before us. The King has made a most unfortunate selection 
of the season for his visit ! 

The pressing events to which the Prince alludes in this 
letter were, first, the fact, that Austria had recently formulated 
certain proposals for peace, which she proposed sending to St. 
Petersburg, by way of ultimatum, with the intimation that, 
if not accepted, she would break off her diplomatic relations 
with Eussia, and, next, the circumstances under which these 
proposals had been brought before the English Government. 
These were anything but satisfactory. The representatives 
of France and Austria had concerted the terms to be sub 
mitted to Kussia, without concert with England, and they 
had then been sent to our Government by Count Walewski, 
with an urgent request that we should adopt them as they 

4 This was the Baron s verdict : The speech at Birmingham has pleased 
me very much. It seems to me to touch on every essential point. The Times 
has despatched it sneeringly. Never mind ! 


stood. The proposals, in their general scope, were such as we 
could not with propriety refuse to entertain ; but when they 
came to be examined, certain modifications presented them 
selves to our Government as essential. On these being 
communicated to Count Walewski, they were received in a 
spirit akin to that in which an arrangement so vital to 
England had been come to without even asking her opinion. 
The Austrian proposals, we were told, must be accepted, as 
presented to us, and no modifications of them could be 
entertained. Against such treatment it became necessary to 
protest, and Count Walewski had to be told in diplomatic 
language, that in this matter England was a principal, and 
not a mere political and diplomatic contingent. 

The communications between the representatives of the 
two countries had grown somewhat warm ; Lord Palmerston 
had even gone the length of writing to Count Walewski 
(21st of November), that, rather than be dragged into 
signing a peace on unsatisfactory terms, England would 
prefer to continue the war with no other ally than Turkey, 
and that she felt herself quite competent to sustain the 
burden thus cast upon her. Things were in this critical 
state, when the Emperor of the French, believing probably 
that the only way to a true understanding with his ally was 
to take the matter into his own hands, addressed the letter 
to the Queen, of which the following is a translation : 

Tuileries, 22nd November, 18o5. 

Madam and dear Sister, I received the Duke of Cam 
bridge with great pleasure, both because he is so near of kin 
to Your Majesty, and because I have long had occasion to 
know all his good qualities. 5 I have been greatly touched 
by your letter, of which he was the bearer. Nothing could 

5 The Duke had gone to Paris to attend the ceremony of closing the Great 
Exhibition there. 


please me more than to know that the remembrance of Your 
Majesty s visit to us has not yet been effaced from your 

We have reached one of those critical epochs, when we 
ought to speak very frankly ; and I would therefore ask 
Your Majesty s permission to enter into some detail upon the 
subject of what is taking place in the political world. 

6 1 begin by repelling everything which could lead to the 
belief, that the French Government would be constrained to 
make peace, although the conditions were not good, just as I 
would not permit myself to think that the English Grovern- 
ruent would be compelled to continue the war, if the condi 
tions of peace were good. We are both of us free in our 
actions, we have the same interests, and we wish the same 
thing an honourable peace ! 

Now, what is our military position? Your Majesty has, I 
believe, in the East, 50,000 men, and 10,000 horses. I have 
200,000 men and 34,000 horses. Your Majesty has an 
immense fleet in the Black Sea as well as in the Baltic ; I 
have one that is imposing, though less considerable. Well, 
notwithstanding this formidable force, it is apparent to all 
the world, that although we can do Russia serious mischief, 
we cannot subdue her with our own unaided means. What 
then is to be done ? Three courses are open to us. 

1. To limit ourselves to occupying strategical points, to 
blockade the Black Sea and the Baltic, and to wait without 
spending extravagant sums until it pleases Russia to make 
peace. By confining ourselves to a defensive war, and to 
holding our ground, Russia will be exhausted in warlike 
preparations (s epuise en armements\ while we, on the other 
hand, will be diminishing the sacrifices of war. 

4 2. To make an appeal to all the nationalities, to proclaim 
boldly the re-establishment of Poland, the independence of 
Finland, of Hungary, of Italy, and of Circassia. This course, 

1855 TO THE QUEEN. 395 

I need scarcely say, would be full of danger, and contrary 
at this time of day to justice. 

3. To secure, if possible, the alliance of Austria, so as 
that she may carry all Germany along with her, and in this 
way that Russia may be driven, by our arms on the one 
hand, and by the public opinion of Europe on the other, to 
propose equitable conditions of peace. 

4 It will seem, I doubt not, to Your Majesty, as it does to 
me, that the third course is the best. 

6 Now, what is going on at this moment? 

4 Austria says to us, " The proposals of peace, which before 
Europe you have proclaimed to be sufficient for your interests 
and your honour, I accept, nay I am prepared even to 
submit them on the condition that, if Kussia shall by any 
chance entertain them, you give me your assurance, that you 
will consent to open negotiations for peace on this basis." 
To such an offer, how can we reasonably reply by a refusal, 
or by equivocations (chicanes} which are equivalent to a 
refusal ? This, Madam, is what I cannot understand, for it 
is not we who make concessions to gain the support of 
Austria ; it is Austria who of her own accord hoists our 

If Your Majesty s Government said that the conditions of 
peace ought to be very different, that our honour and our 
interests demanded a readjustment of the map of Europe, 
that Europe would not be free until Poland was re-established, 
the Crimea given to Turkey, and Finland to Sweden, I could 
comprehend a policy which would have a certain grandeur, 
and would put the results aimed at on a level with the 
sacrifices to be made. But spontaneously to renounce the 
support of Austria for microscopical advantages, which one 
could always claim at any time, is what I cannot bring 
myself to regard as reasonable, and to these questions, so 
grave as they are, I ask the attention of Your Majesty and 


that of Prince Albert, whose views are always so clear and so 

My firm desire being to be always at one with Your 
Majesty s Government, I hope we shall come to an under 

4 1 ask your pardon for this letter, written in haste, and I 
beg you to receive favourably the fresh expression of the 
respectful and tender friendship, with which I am, 
Madam and dear Sister, 

Your Majesty s devoted and true brother, 


On receiving this letter the Queen sent for Lord Palmers- 
ton and Lord Clarendon, and laid it before them. The 
sketch of the reply to be returned to it had been prepared 
by the Queen in concert with the Prince. In very firm, but 
courteous, language, it recalled the Emperor s attention to 
the fact, that in negotiating peace the terms must be such 
as the British Nation, through her Parliament, would ap 
prove ; and that a grave mistake had been committed by his 
Minister in settling, without our intervention, terms of peace 
to which we were expected to become parties. It also 
brought to his notice the unmeasured language of some of 
the Emperor s own officials, of which he was pretty certainly 
himself unaware, as to the necessity which France felt for 
bringing the war to a close. The natural candour of the 
Emperor s mind might be relied upon to take these remon 
strances in good part. If convinced of their justice and 
this he subsequently admitted himself to be he was sure to 
go heartily with us in stipulating for the conditions which we 
considered essential to an honourable peace. To carry him 
along with us was all-important ; for only in this way could 
we hope to checkmate the peace-at-any-price party in Paris, 
who were actively at work in the hope of endangering the 

1 85 5 LETTER BY THE QUEEN. 397 

English alliance, and establishing those intimate relations 
with Eussia which her agents were straining every nerve to 
negotiate. The letter, of which we now give the translation, 
met with the cordial approval of the Ministers, who felt 
how thoroughly it was calculated to effect the object in 
view : 

26th November, 1855. 

Sire and dear Brother, My cousin, the Duke of Cam 
bridge, has come back to us deeply moved by the kindness of 
the reception given to him by Your Majesty, and by the confi 
dence you have shown him. Most sincerely do I thank your 
Majesty, to whom he has been a fresh medium for the con 
veyance of my sentiments. The ceremony of closing the 
Exhibition, at which he was present, filled him with admira 
tion, and the lively description of it which he gave me, 
inspired me with but one regret, namely, that I was not able 
to be there myself. 

Your Majesty s letter has given me the greatest satisfac 
tion, as at once a fresh proof of your friendship and of your 
sincere desire in all difficult moments to come to a clear 
understanding with me by a frank and unreserved inter 
change of opinions. I am animated by the same feeling, 
and pleased to find that there is in fact no material difference 
between your views and my own. We both wish for a good 
and honourable peace, and you are quite right in saying that 
} T OU are no more constrained to accept a bad peace, than I to 
refuse a good one. But to discover and understand the 
nature of that which may have the semblance of a difference 
of opinion, it is essential to form a just idea of the dif 
ference of position of our two Governments, which must 
naturally influence their decisions and actions. It is only 
by taking this difference into full account that we can judge 
each other with perfect justice and fairness. 

Your Majesty has great advantages over me in the mode 


of conducting your policy and your negotiations. You are 
answerable to nobody, you can keep your own counsel, 
employ in your negotiations whatever person or form you 
choose, you can alter your course when you please, or give, 
by a word spoken by yourself at any time, that direction to 
public affairs which strikes you at the moment as the most 

I, on the other hand, am bound by certain rules and 
usages ; I have no uncontrolled power of decision ; I must 
adopt the advice of a Council of responsible Ministers, and 
these Ministers have to meet and to agree on a course of 
action after having arrived at a joint conviction of its justice 
and utility. They have at the same time to take care that 
the steps which they wish to take are not only in accordance 
with the best interests of the country, but also such, that they 
can be explained to and defended in Parliament, and that 
their fitness may be brought home to the conviction of the 

There is, however, another side to this picture, in which 
I consider that I have an advantage which Your Majesty has 
not. Your policy runs the risk of remaining unsupported 
by the nation, and the irresistible conviction that your 
people will not follow it to the end, may expose you to the 
dangerous alternative of either having to impose it upon 
them against their will, or of having suddenly to alter your 
course abroad, and even perhaps to encounter grave resistance. 
T, on the other hand, can allow my policy free scope to work 
out its own consequences, certain of the steady and consistent 
support of my people, who, having had a share in determi 
ning my policy, feel themselves to be identified with it. 

4 The advantages and disadvantages inherent in our respec 
tive positions, are very apparent at this " critical epoch," and 
in them lie the difficulties which we have to overcome. If 
they are well understood, however, and well appreciated on 


both sides, it ought not to be difficult to arrive at a judicious 
solution, while paying at the same time due regard to our 
respective positions. 

4 1 make, then, full allowance for Your Majesty s personal 
difficulties, and refuse to listen to any wounded feelings of 
amour propre which my Government might be supposed to 
entertain at a complete understanding having been come to 
with Austria an understanding which has resulted in an 
arrangement being placed, cut and dry before us, for our 
mere acceptance, putting us in the disagreeable position of 
either having to accept what we have not even been allowed 
fully to understand (and which, so far as Austria is con 
cerned, has been negotiated under influences, dictated by 
motives, and in a spirit which we are without the means of 
estimating), or to take the responsibility of breaking up this 
arrangement, of losing the alliance which is offered to us and 
which is so much wanted, and even of estranging the friendly 
feelings of the ally who advocates the arrangement itself. 

6 Passing over all these considerations, I am sincerely 
anxious to be at one with Your Majesty. All that is required 
to enable my Government to do so, is: 1st. That we should 
not be bound to the letter of the proposal, of which we have 
had no opportunity of discussing the meaning or the import. 
2nd. That Austria should agree to abide, under all circum 
stances, by her Ultimatum, and not to bring us back counter 
proposals from St. Petersburg, which we, yourself and I, 
should have to accept or to refuse, whereby we should be 
placed again in the same bad position we found ourselves in 
last year. 

3rd. That the Neutralisation Treaty 6 should be made a 

6 That is, the conditions for the neutralisation of the Black Sea, on which 
the Conferences at Vienna had broken down. This was the most essential of 
the modifications proposed by our Government on the Austrian Ultimatum, 
and it was subsequently adopted by both France and Austria. 


reality and not something merely illusory, which it would 
inevitably be, if, as proposed, it were left as a separate treaty 
existing merely between Eussia and Turkey. 

< 1 am convinced Your Majesty will find these demands 
founded in reason ! On your part, be equally assured, that 
having given my assent to these conditions, I will not allow 
them to be neutralised by anything which you could fairly 
designate as " chicanes equivalentes a un refus" or a desire 
to fight for " microscopical advantages." What I ask for 
is inspired by the common interest which we both have in view, 
and I can see nothing in it to which Austria can raise any 
fair objection. 

I cannot, however, conceal from Your Majesty my fears, 
founded upon information on which I can rely, that the 
language held at Paris, by men in office and others who have 
the honour to approach you, in regard to the financial diffi 
culties of France, and the absolute necessity of concluding 
peace, has already produced a very mischievous effect at 
Vienna, at Berlin, and at St. Petersburg ; and that it is very 
possible that Austria may by this time be disposed to draw 
back from her Ultimatum, and to seek to obtain more favour 
able terms for Russia. 

4 1 now proceed to consider the three courses mentioned by 
Your Majesty as open to us. I am glad to see that Your 
Majesty rejects the first, which, in my opinion, would not 
realise even what it professes to attain, because Russia would 
take care not to " s epuiser en armements" if she were sure 
that the Western Powers would confine themselves to a mere 
blockade, and, as we have entered upon an aggressive war, 
we could not now return to a merely defensive one, without 
owning at least a moral defeat. 

The second course would at all times have been repelled 
by me with the same firmness with which it is rejected by Your 
Majesty, and for the same reasons and the same considerations. 


The third, to which Your Majesty gives the preference, 
has also my unqualified approval, but I do not disguise from 
myself the uncertainty of its chances of success, as this is 
dependent on the decision of other Powers, who may have 
other notions of their own interest, and who have hitherto 
done little to inspire us with any confidence. Be this as it 
may, I promise Your Majesty to do my utmost to make this 
course succeed, and I agree fully with you, that all minor 
considerations should be dropped in order to arrive at the 
greater result. 

I will say nothing here of the plans of military opera 
tion, as I consider them to be dependent on the policy agreed 
upon. This policy having been settled exclusively by the 
two Grovernments, the Grenerals, after a Council, of which I 
highly approve the idea as suggested by Your Majesty, should 
be entrusted with the consideration of the plans of the cam 
paign to carry out the policy determined upon. 

4 I am convinced that every difficulty, every divergence of 
opinion, which may arise on these weighty matters, will be 
more promptly and more effectually dispelled by a frank 
exchange of ideas between Your Majesty and myself, than by 
any other mode of communication, and I therefore beg you 
will continue towards me those unreserved utterances (epanche- 
nwnts), to which I hope you will find that my letter re 
sponds with a sincere and genuine confidence. The Prince 
feels more and more the flattering opinion you have been 
pleased to express with respect to his views and judgment. 
No one, I atn happy to say, is more keenly anxious than he 
for the success of the ideas which I hold in common with 
yourself, or supports more resolutely whatever can conduce to 
their fulfilment. 

6 1 would have wished, had time allowed, to abridge this 
letter, the extreme length of which is, however, justified by 



the gravity of the circumstances and the importance of the 
questions at issue. 

4 Accept, Sire, the expression of sincere friendship and of 
high esteem, with which I am, Sire and dear Brother, 
Your Majesty s very affectionate 

Sister and friend, 


The Emperor of the French was much gratified by this 
letter. He frankly admitted our right to take exception to 
the way the terms of the Ultimatum had been settled without 
previous consultation with the English Government, as well as 
the importance of some of the modifications we had suggested, 
and which had been represented to him as insignificant and 
of microscopical value. The information, hinted at in the 
letter, and more fully brought to his notice by our Ambas 
sador at Paris, as to the efforts which were everywhere being 
made to have it supposed that France was ready for peace 
on any terms, caused him the deepest annoyance, and he 
took means to let it be known, that, however this note 
might be sounded for the purposes of the Bourse, he would 
be no party to a peace of which England did not approve. 
If the war had to be carried on, France would not be found 
backward. Be assured, were his words to Lord Cowley (25th 
of November), whatever I think right, I will do, and I shall 
not be afraid of making my conduct understood in France. 
Not for the first time, he found his best advice had come 
from England. In the same conversation he said, that all he 
begged was that the truth might be told him, and we should 
find him as ready to do what he could to smooth away 
our difficulties as we were to smooth away his. 

7 The original of this letter, and of that to which it is an answer, will be 
ound in the Appendix. 



ON the 30th of November the King of Sardinia arrived in 
London on a visit to the Queen. He was met by the Prince 
at the railway station, and in passing through London on his 
way to Windsor Castle was received with a cordiality, which, 
if not so demonstrative as that with which the Emperor and 
Empress of the French had been greeted, was sufficient to 
show how warmly the English people appreciated the gallant 
spirit in which he had thrown himself into the struggle 
against Russia. The visit was a short one, but the mass of 
things to be seen and done imposed no small amount of 
fatigue upon the Queen and Prince. 

Next day they accompanied him to the Arsenal, at Wool 
wich, and the scale of the operations there must have con 
vinced His Majesty, that it would be from no lack of the 
materials of deadly warfare, if his English Allies were now to 
consent to a cessation of hostilities, and that they were not 
likely to give such a consent, except in exchange for satis 
factory terms of peace. The hospitals were also visited, kind 
words were exchanged with the sufferers there, and a series 
of manosuvres by the Artillery on the Common gave actual 
proof of our pre-eminence in that arm, of which the Royal 
soldier had often heard. The following day (Sunday) was 
spent by the King in London ; but by daybreak the next morn 
ing His Majesty was on his way to Portsmouth, accompanied 
by Prince Albert. The dockyard and factories there were 

D D 2 


thoroughly examined, and a visit was made in the Fairy to 
inspect a portion of the Fleet at Spithead, consisting of eight 
ships of the line and eight frigates. On the 4th the King 
went to London, and after receiving the Corps diplomatique 
at Buckingham Palace, proceeded in state to the City, where 
about 2,000 guests had assembled at the GKuldhall to witness 
the ceremonial of presenting an address by the Corporation. 
The King had been welcomed by great numbers on his way 
to the City, although the day was cold, dark, and wet ; 
but the scene, as he entered the hall, and the crowds as 
sembled there rose in a body and received him with pro 
longed cheers, was especially gratifying and impressive. It 
was one which was to be witnessed only in England, among a 
people sure of its own liberties, and predisposed in favour of 
a Sovereign who had proved himself true to the principles 
of constitutional monarchy. Count Cavour was in attendance 
upon the King, and the reply to the Address was such as 
might have been expected from the pen of a statesman so 
liberal, so far-seeing, and so accomplished. Both address 
and reply were useful at the time, from the resolute tone 
with which they declared that the Allies would not lay down 
their arms until an honourable and durable peace had been 
secured. On his return from the City the Prince was enabled 
to give the King the welcome assurance that France had 
adopted our modifications of the proposed Austrian Ulti 
matum, and that all diplomatic difficulty on this ground was 
now at an end. 

The next day His Majesty was invested by the Queen 
with the Order of the Garter, and a great banquet in the 
evening brought his brief but busy visit to a close. He 
was to leave Windsor Castle next morning at five o clock. 
Even before this hour the Queen was present to take leave 
of the Royal guest. The morning was bitterly cold, and 
heavy snow was falling, as he left the Castle for Folkestone, 


accompanied by the Prince, the Duke of Cambridge, and 
Prince Edward of Saxe Weimar. After seeing the King de 
part for Boulogne at nine o clock, the Prince returned to the 
hotel, where he met the Duke of Newcastle, who had just 
landed from the packet on his way back from the East. The 
meeting was a pleasant surprise, and the details as to the state 
of affairs in Asia Minor and the Crimea, which the Prince was 
able to gather from him in their brief interview, made even 
the fatigue and cold of that bitter morning for the time 
forgotten. There was still work to be done before the Prince 
could return to town. Colours were to be presented at Shorn- 
cliffe to two of the regiments of the Royal German Legion, 
who were on the point of embarking for the Crimea. 

The Prince, on horseback and escorted by a troop of 
the German light cavalry, reached the ground about eleven 
o clock. Despite the inclemency of the weather, a large 
number of visitors many of them ladies had assembled. 
The steadiness and precision with which the regiments 
went through the movements common on such occasions 
promised well for their efficiency in the field. To the 
Prince the ceremony was especially interesting both as a 
German, and as having been himself the first to suggest the 
raising of this foreign auxiliary force. They, on the other 
hand, no doubt, attached a double value to the few admir 
ably chosen words of the Prince s speech in presenting the 
colours by reason of their being addressed to them in their 
own language by one whom Germans had long since learned 
to honour. 

1 1 am heartily glad, said the Prince, at being able to deliver 
these colours to you in person, as this gives me an opportunity 
of expressing to you, how warmly the Queen recognises the 
readiness with which you have responded to her call, and enrolled 
yourselves in her army. 

I am fully convinced that you will, under all circumstances, 


uphold the honour of a flag, which until now has been vic 
torious in every quarter of the globe in the battle for Justice, 
Order, Freedom, and the spread of Civilisation. 

May the Almighty accompany you with His protecting grace 
in all the toils and dangers which you have \aliantly resolved to 
share with the brave English army ! They will, I feel sure, 
welcome you as brothers. 

After lunching with the officers, the Prince returned to 
Windsor Castle, which he reached about five o clock, and 
where a few quiet days, after the fatigues of the preceding 
week, were peculiarly welcome. 

The agencies at work in Russian interests at Paris had such 
ready means of access to some of the leading officials there, 
that the fact of Austria s intention to submit an Ulti 
matum to the Czar, which had received the sanction of the 
Allied Powers, was not likely to be any secret at St. Peters 
burg. Russia wanted peace, because she knew that her 
powers of resistance were well nigh exhausted, but to accept 
a peace at the dictation of Austria was a mortification not 
to be borne, if by any means it might be averted. Accord 
ingly Prince Gortschakoff found means to make the Em 
peror of the French aware that he knew what was going on 
that Russia would accept no Ultimatum, whatever might 
be its terms, as a basis for peace, but that if the Emperor 
really wished for peace he should send a confidential agent 
to Prince Gortschakoff, and His Majesty would then learn on 
what terms it could be made. A few days later the French 
Government was sounded on the same subject by Baron 
Seebach, the Saxon Minister at Paris, who professed to be, as 
he no doubt was, acting on the instructions of the Emperor 
of Russia. The Emperor of the French would not entertain 
the question, except in concert with England ; and Baron 
Seebach was asked to place his propositions in writing, 
that they might be submitted to the English Government, 


He did so, but after what had already occurred in regard to 
the limitation of the preponderance of Russia in the Black 
Sea, the suggestion which he put forward on this the turning 
point of any negotiations could meet only with a decided 
negative. What this suggestion was may be inferred from 
the following passage in a letter from the Queen (13th De 
cember) to Lord Clarendon : ( Baron Seebach s proposal is 
really too " naif." The Straits are to be closed and every 
flag excluded from the Black Sea except the Russian and 
Turkish, who will settle together what they think right, and 
this is to be the satisfactory solution of the third point, upon 
which Russia will be prepared to sign preliminaries ! 

All these indirect endeavours of Russia to separate France 
from England, and to come to terms with the one, which she 
might then hope to force upon the other, were brought to a 
close by a settlement of the terms of the Austrian Ultimatum, 
and its despatch to St. Petersburg on the 15th of December. 
Any hopes which might have been raised there by the rumour 
of a variance which for a time existed between France and 
England as to the terms of the Ultimatum were thus nipped 
in the bud. Nor was this all, for Baron Seebach was made 
aware from a quarter where mistake was impossible, that 
this variance was absolutely and entirely at an end, and that 
the Emperor of the French now considered the terms of the 
Ultimatum as entirely his own. He was prepared either to 
make peace upon them if accepted without modification by 
Russia, or to continue the war with increased vigour. But, 
happen what might, nothing would induce him to separate 
from England, and any calculations founded upon the alliance 
being broken up or weakened would prove to be utterly 
delusive. This information must have reached St. Peters 
burg soon after the arrival there of Count Esterhazy as the 
bearer of the Austrian Ultimatum, with instructions, unless 
a favourable answer were returned within a limited time, to 


demand passports for himself and the whole of the Austrian 

Thanks to the loyalty and frankness of the French Emperor, 
what for a time threatened to prove a serious difficulty was 
thus effectively removed. How serious it was may be 
gathered from the words of the Prince in writing to Baron 
Stockmar on the 3rd of December. In politics, he wrote, 
6 there is much danger; Austrian propositions, which, as they 
send up the funds, are acceptable to the French Ministry, but 
are full of mischievous consequences to us. . . . 

The Court had gone to Osborne for a fortnight on the 
10th of December, and there the Prince received the follow 
ing letter from Baron Stockmar, in answer to that from which 
we have just quoted : 

I am glad for the Queen s sake and your own, that the 
recent visits and other fatigues are well over, and that you are 
once more settled in the quietude of Osborne, for great and 
protracted distraction evaporates, sometimes uselessly, some 
times injuriously, the best faculties both of heart and head. 

6 For a due appreciation and accurate estimate of the 
political constellations of the hour and of what they menace, 
I am here entirely without adequate materials. As your 
Eoyal Highness remembers, I anticipated from the first, that 
the chief danger for the political enterprise of the Western 
Powers lay in the difficulty of making it possible for 
France and England to act, and to the end, like loyal com 

Who with close-compacted power 

Bravely stand together, 
In success s sunny hour, 

And in stormy weather. 

Well, the imbecility of Prussian policy is not so likely to 
endanger this "brave standing together" as the Austrian 


Minister s inability to pursue a sound general and special 
policy ; for what could I expect from men who suffered 
themselves to be duped by Jesuitism in the year of grace 


The allusion here is to the Concordat between the Pope and 
the Emperor of Austria of the 18th of August, 1855, which 
the Prince has designated in the copy preserved among his 
papers by one word, " Atrocious ! " By that document greater 
rights and privileges within the Austrian Empire had been 
conceded than the Papal See had ever been able, in the days 
of its greatest power, to extort from any German Sovereign. 
It made the conscience, the education, and the religious 
guidance of the Empire wholly subservient to the dictates 
of Rome, and pledged the civil authority to enforce whatever 
the Vatican might enjoin. The letter proceeds : 

I fear we shall have to expiate this folly, even although 
eventually it may bear good fruit. 1 Has your Eoyal Highness 
considered the import of this affair in all its bearings ? It 
has engaged my close attention ever since it was known. 

1 This Concordat has now been practically abrogated. In 1867 after Sadowa 
the first step in this direction was taken by the passing of measures (1) which 
emancipated the schools from the control of the clergy ; ( 2) which made 
marriage a civil rite, and sanctioned divorce on certain specified grounds ; and 
(3) which defined the relations of the different religious denominations to each 
other. These measures encountered the strongest opposition from the .Roman 
Catholic clergy, but they were passed \)j triumphant majorities in the Reichs- 
rath. Again in May 1868 further laws were passed which withdrew both 
marriage and education from ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Marriage was made 
matter of civil contract, and the State schools were thrown open to all without 
distinction of creed. The last vestiges of the Concordat were swept away by 
measures introduced by Prince Auersperg into the Reichsrath in January 
1874, for the regulation of the relations between Church and State. These 
had been provoked by the action of the Ultramontane party, and they placed 
the Roman Catholic Church, as to all but its purely spiritual functions, under 
the control of the State. The appointment of priests was made subject to the 
sanction of Government, who might, under certain conditions, demand their 
dismissal. The limits of spiritual authority to be exercised by the priests 


The discussions upon it, which I have seen in The Times, were 
utterly superficial, and in part mistaken ! I hope in a few 
days to be able to send you some remarks, which have been 
written with a view to a more thorough understanding of the 
subject. The purport of them is to call the attention of the 
legislature from the juridical point of view to the immediate 
consequences. . . . The affair will become very serious, for 
to expect self-control, forbearance, and moderation from the 
Roman Catholic, or indeed from any, clergy is idle. 

For the present my notion is, that that section of the 
belligerents, which has the heaviest purse and can longest 
dispense with economy, is most likely to get peace concluded 
according to its wish. The political pressure from without and 
within will indeed prevent the Russians from thinking of the 
cost so long as they have a rouble to spend ; but they certainly 
seem to have become fully aware^ that, in challenging France 
and England as they did, they greatly over-estimated their 
own power. 

4 What ought I to think of the rumour, that St. Petersburg 
and Moscow are to be fortified ? Is Russia afraid that a 
change may take place in the policy of Sweden ? . . . 

15th December, 1855. 

Before this letter reached the Prince, the conditions of the 
Austrian Ultimatum were practically settled ; but until the 
answer of Russia was known, it was intended that profound 
secrecy as to its terms should be preserved. Accordingly, 

were defined ; rules were laid down for the education and training of candidates 
for the priesthood ; the rights of ecclesiastical bodies, of congregations, and of 
patrons were dealt with, and provision made for the proper appropriation of 
endowments ; monastic bodies were brought under the direct surveillance 
of the civil authority ; clerical endowments were subjected to taxation, and 
the existence of separate religious bodies recognised. Thus out of evil came 
good, for the reaction against ecclesiastical control, which grew out of the 
Concordat, accelerated the establishment of religious freedom in Austria, and 
realised the anticipation expressed by Baron Stockmar in the text 


even in writing to Baron Stockmar on the 17th, the Prince, 
while preparing him to hear important news in a few days, 
gives no clue to their nature. He writes : 

I have little news for you from our quiet retreat in Osborne. 
In the politics of Europe a turn is likely to take place, which 
will be favourable in every sense to the Western Powers, but 
must place Prussia in a fresh and most serious difficulty. A 
few weeks, or perhaps days, will put the world in possession 
of the secret, which in the absence of a courier I cannot 
confide to you through the post. Prussia in her blindness is 
playing a terribly hazardous game, and the confusion in her 
domestic affairs must have reached its climax. Oh, that 
you were here, that I might talk over these topics with you ! 

A few days brought the Baron s promised remarks on the 
Papal Concordat with Austria. Acknowledging their receipt 
on the 31st of December, the Prince wrote : Your notes for 
the understanding of the Concordat have reached us. I had 
taken precisely the same view. I also should have nothing 
to say against it, were the Koman Catholic Church to show 
itself openly in its true colours, for then it would be recog 
nised for what it truly is, and be abandoned by all rational 
men. But that the Government should have stooped to be the 
tool for executing its decrees, to become the despot of its 
people for the Church s ends, is monstrous, nay incomprehen 
sible ! 

In the same letter the Prince adverts to a series of bitter 
attacks against himself, which had just been made by The 
Times in consequence of his having signed a Memorial to 
the Queen by the officers of the Guards, in which they com 
plained of an injustice to their body caused by the operation 
of a Royal Warrant issued on the 6th of October, 1854, for 
the regulation of promotion and retirement in the army. 
The object of that Warrant had been to enable lieutenant- 


colonels, after three years service, in actual command of a 
battalion, to become, by right, full colonels, and thus, while 
still young, to take their turn in a brevet as major-generals. 
The operation of the Warrant was, however, confined to the 
officers of the Line, and in this way an injustice was alleged 
to have been done, unintentionally, to the officers of the 
Guards. They therefore memorialised Her Majesty with the 
hope of getting it redressed, and their promotion put upon 
the same footing as that of their comrades of the Line. 

Prince Albert, as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, had 
appended his name to this Memorial. This innocent act was 
made the text for several articles charging him with having 
made use of his exalted position to exercise an undue in 
fluence at the Horse Guards, and his conduct in the present 
case was adduced in illustration of the writer s views. There 
was not then, nor at any time, the shadow of a foundation 
for the charge; but by the necessities of his position, which 
imposed silence upon him, the Prince was without the means 
of defence. The writer was therefore safe from contradiction 
when he reminded the public it now knows with what 
truth that the Prince had coveted the office of Commander- 
in-Chief, and had only abandoned this ambition in deference 
to the less courtly but sounder counsels of those Mentors of 
the press, of whom his present assailant claimed to be one. 
But while the Prince had so far deferred to these counsels, 
his conduct, the writer went on to say, had given rise to the 
6 general assertion that he exercised much influence in 
military matters, even as respects the highest military ap 
pointments, an assertion which had been refuted in the 
most unqualified terms in the House of Lords by Lord 
Hardinge on the 31st of January, 1854. It was natural, the 
writer admitted, that the Prince s brother officers should 
petition the Queen, which by the rules of the service, how 
ever, he forgot to mention that they could not do, except 


through him as their superior officer ; but it was intolerable 
that the Queen should be placed in the ungracious position 
of refusing the prayer of one who ought to be careful how 
he sues, where he should not sue in vain, inasmuch as his 
name to the petition gave a force to the prayer, which 
almost converted it into a command ! It was further urged 
in aggravation of the Prince s offence, that the memorial 
had been drawn up, signed, and presented in secrecy, thus 
showing f that its originators were desirous of gaining their 
object by means of powerful influence quietly brought into 

How little the author of these attacks understood either 
the Queen or the Prince, or their undeviating deference to 
the counsels of their responsible advisers in military, as well 
as in all other matters, it is unnecessary to say. The Prince s 
action in reference to the subject of the Memorial began 
and ended with his signing it. 2 So he was content to bear 
these imputations of his anonymous accuser in silence as he 
had done so many others, and only in writing to Baron 
Stockmar did he even think them worthy of a word of notice. 
To him he said : 

You will have read violent attacks upon me on account of 
the Guards Memorial. That you may understand the matter, 
just one word. Every free Briton has the right of petition 
to his Sovereign ; the officers of a corps can only petition 
through their commanding officers and superiors. If I had 
declined to annex my name to the petition, I should have 
barred the Gfuards from their right, and this out of personal 
cowardice. A public petition through a Secretary of State 
is no secret intrigue of a husband with his wife. 

The Prince had grown to be indifferent to the attacks of 
the press upon himself, but we find many indications in his 

2 The prayer of the Memorial was not granted, the Secretary of State fur 
War not having been persuaded by the reasons on which it was based. 


correspondence at this timo of the pain it cost him to see, 
how the reckless misrepresentations as to the state of our army 
had come to be accepted abroad as actual facts, justifying 
the belief that our greatness as a nation was at an end. 
Official despatches, as well as his own correspondence, told 
too plainly how widely this belief was spread, and the 
mischief it was doing at a time when, if ever, it was 
important that the Continental Powers should know that 
England had not lost the vigour of her arm. One of the 
imputations against our officers was, that they were leaving 
the Crimea in great numbers on the pretext of private 
business, and so proving their unfitness for the position in 
which they had been placed by what was being continually 
denounced as an incurably vicious army system. The present 
Emperor of Germany, in a letter to the Prince, had spoken 
as he might be expected to speak of such conduct, assuming 
it to be true. His remarks drew from the Prince the follow 
ing reply (30th December, 1855) : 

An illustration of what I have said as to the recklessness 
of the press is given by the very circumstance to which you 
advert in your letter, where, among other calumnies, which 
in the eyes of the Continent have made our army a by- word 
and a shame, you speak of the bad impression produced by 
the coming away of so many officers from the seat of war 
" for urgent private affairs." I begged Lord Hardinge to 
sift this matter to the bottom, and you will scarcely believe 
me, when I tell you as the result of the inquiry, that, 
exclusive of the officers who have come back by reason of 
wounds, sickness, or promotion to the depot battalions, only 
thirty-three out of an army of 52,000 men have come home 
on account of private affairs. 

6 How little, the Prince adds, the real power of our press 
and its value can be known or judged of upon the Continent, 
is shown by the following facts. While it goes on dis- 


paraging the army in the most unmeasured terms, attacking 
the "aristocratic, ignorant, used-up, &c. officers," and 
" stupid, old, useless generals," and giving the Continent 
the impression that this is the opinion of the country, there 
is not a lieutenant comes back to his parents from the seat of 
war that is not greeted with cheers by the whole population 
of the place, his horses taken out, and the " hero " borne in 
triumph through the streets. Not a general returns, but a 
sword of honour and addresses are presented to him by the 
great towns. In France, on the contrary, where nothing but 
praise and honour is paid to the pre-eminence of the army, 
which, because this is so, finds this pre-eminence acknow 
ledged in other countries, General Bosquet recently landed 
at Marseilles wounded, and was received by the assembled 
crowd with scarcely a sign of respect. But we must 
take the good and the bad together of a popular life which 
knows no limits to its freedom. 

So widely had the exaggerated statements as to the decay 
of our military force in Parliament and the press found 
credence, that even King Leopold seems to have thought 
that it would be politic in England to conclude a peace with 
Eussia upon easy terms. He was aware of the Czar s desire 
for peace, and seems to have been anxious to assist him to 
effect it. But he clearly did not know how little disposed 
England was to abate one jot of the demands which she had 
made up her mind to obtain, or to allow the fear of anything 
that Kussia could do to influence her ultimate decision. It 
was well that the King should hear the truth on these points, 
and it was sure to reach St. Petersburg, if once it were well 
understood at Brussels. We may fairly presume that the 
Prince had this contingency in view when he wrote the 
following reply to a letter, in which the King had sounded 
him as to the terms of peace which England might be 
expected to entertain. In reading this letter, one feels 


that the old pupil in politics has now become his master s 
master ! 

Dearest Uncle, It is only to-day that I am able to reply 
to your kind letter of the 16th, sent by the courier, as our 
removal from Osborne has somewhat disordered our daily 
routine ; but I now send you my warmest thanks for it. 

It is always of the highest importance to me to learn 
your views, especially at critical moments like the present. 
Still I regret to find, running through what you say, a certain 
bitterness against England, which it has deserved neither 
by its attitude towards Belgium or yourself, nor by the 
position which it has taken up in regard to the Eastern 
Question, a bitterness of which I am at a loss even to divine 
the cause. No one knows better than yourself, how the 
whole dispute arose ; how forbearing we were towards the 
Emperor Nicholas, how reluctantly we were driven to ex 
treme measures, with what domineering insolence Russia 
repelled every effort on our part to avoid the conflict ; how 
zealously we laboured to maintain in all good faith the 
commun accord of the European Powers, who had pro 
nounced against Russia as in the wrong, and not to be 
driven into an isolated alliance with Frmce ; how Prussia 
first, then Austria, left us in the lurch ; how Russia found 
friends in every quarter of the Continent ( Belgium not 
excepted) ; what sacrifices we made in men, money, com 
mercial relations, &c., how from every side nothing but 
prophecies of disaster has reached us, how, finally, Russia 
herself rejected the proposals at the Vienna Conference, 
always building on the belief that the sacrifices we had to 
make, and the difficulties we had to encounter, would 
ultimately break down the Franco-English alliance, and 
how she worked for that end through every possible organ, 
on one hand trying to scare us and the world by talking of the 

1855 TO KING LEOPOLD. 417 

ambitious designs of Louis Napoleon, of his invasion of Eng 
land, and his raid across the Rhine ; on the other, seeking to 
irritate the French public against us by insinuating that we 
were prosecuting purely English interests (because of India), 
and were making use of France as our tool, whose interests 
the Emperor was sacrificing to us for personal and dynastic 
purposes of his own ! 3 

We are now engaged in the struggle, and up to this 
point, despite the numberless disadvantages to which our press 
has exposed us, we have held our ground in the face of the 
enemy, who has been beaten at all points, and, having begun 
the campaign with 24,000 men and 36 guns, and lost in it 
somewhere about 20,000 men, we are now in Sebastopol 
with 52,000 men and 96 guns ; we have on the Bosphorus 
6,000 men of the Foreign Legion, a Turkish contingent of 
18,000 men at Kertch, and 15,000 men of our Sardinian 
Allies ready to act as part of our army, and thus we are in 
a position to take the field with 80,000 men independently 
of the French. England entertains neither an invincible 
hatred to Eussia, nor a childish ambition of military glory. 
If, therefore, the war is continued, the reason must be sought 
in the circumstance, that, being a practical country, it aims 
at a practical result, for which it is fighting, and until that 
result is attained, will persist through good and evil report 
in valiantly making further sacrifices to carry on the war. 

Sad would it be, were England to show that fitfulness of 
purpose, which is visible, alas ! every twenty-four hours in 
France, and which is due to the fickleness and frivolity of 
the nation, the stock-broking propensities (Agiotagewesen) 

3 One of the great complaints against Louis Philippe how utterly un 
founded history will in time disclose was, that he was the Viceroy of 
England upon the Continent and Lamartine mentions this as one great cause 
of his unpopularity. The Emperor Louis Napoleon had to contend against 
the. same charge throughout his reign, and especially during the Crimean 



of its public men (Staatsleute\ and the temptation under 
which its ruler lives, to regard every phase of the political 
problem with reference to the influence it may have upon his 
personal position at home. On the failure of any assaidt upon 
a battery at Sebastopol, he was for evacuating the Crimea ; 
after any little success over Russia he was for pushing for 
ward to Moscow ; either a disgraceful peace was to be con 
cluded, or the border provinces of the Rhine to be invaded ; 
Austria was to be bought over to the side of the Allies by pro 
mises of Prussian territory, or her Italian provinces were to be 
taken from her ; no peace " sans que la France ait eu un 
grand succes, qui est necessaire a VEmpereur," and as soon 
as a success was achieved, peace at once, "pour en sortir 
avec la gloire exclusive" &c. 

If we have difficulties of this kind to contend with daily, 
and I really believe there is not a single soul in France who 
ever gave himself the very smallest concern about the main 
tenance of the Turkish Empire, still this was and is for us 
the one unvarying object of the war, and if we keep France 
up to the mark, and place reliance in the personal good faith 
( Kkrlichkeit) of the Emperor, assuredly this is not " riding 
another man s horse with your own spurs," 4 though it may suit 
the Russians to put it to the French in that light. In any 
case the object we have set to ourselves is not yet thoroughly 
secured ; and up to this moment I have not seen, nor am I 
able to discover even the faintest indication, that Russia has 
abandoned her design upon the supremacy of the East, neither 
do I believe that she will give in until she is completely 
exhausted, and this may involve the exhaustion of the best 
part of Europe ; unless, indeed, Europe should unite in deed 
as well as in word*, and dictate what it is costing the Western 
Powers, whose territories lie so far away from Russia, so much 

4 This phrase had been applied to our relation towards France by King 
Leopold, in the letter to which this is an answer. 

1855 TO KING LEOPOLD. 419 

trouble to extort. But up to this time any such line of 
action has been made impossible by the love and worship of 
Russia entertained by all the Continental governments, who 
look to that country and to the Jesuits as the only agents to 
make their people happy, and to preserve themselves against 
the Red Republic of Paris. 

c Russia will have to see and feel the nature of her present 
position, before we can hope she will concede a peace com 
mensurate with the objects of the war. That she has not 
done so up to this time is shown by the fact that she has put 
the question plum ply in Paris through Herr von Seebach, 
whether the Western Powers are ready to conclude peace on 
the basis of the Neutralisation of the Black Sea ? this neu 
tralisation being, as Russia understands it, " that the Dar 
danelles shall be closed, and that no ships of war shall hence 
forth enter the Black Sea, except those of Russia and Turkey 
(! !), which shall be maintained there in such numbers as the 
two neighbours shall agree between themselves, without a 
voice on the part of the other Powers." A very pretty out 
come this would make to a two years bloody war ! It ex 
plains why Russian diplomacy just at present professes to 
have a preference for the principle of neutralisation to that 
of limitation. 

You put much the same question as Herr von Seebach, 
" Will England make peace on the footing of neutralisation ? " 
To this it would be difficult for me to give a satisfactory 
answer, as what I have just told you shows how elastic such 
general expressions are. The fact, however, is, that Austria 
has laid before us a carefully formulated basis for peace, and 
although it did not cme up to our wishes and was proposed 
by a Power which of late has been at pains to earn for it 
self our utter distrust, we have accepted it after long and 
patient deliberation and discussion with our Allies. It has 
now gone as an Austrian Ultimatum to St. Petersburg. 

E B 2 


Russia, therefore, has it in her power to conclude a peace 
which is regarded by Austria (as by ourselves) as most equit 
able. We will now see what she will do, and what amount 
of truth there is in all that she has been saying. The trans 
action may be concluded in a few days, and Europe has an 
interest in its being brought to a settlement. I hope it may 
now rouse itself and try to work upon that section of the 
European world which has done the wrong, which began the 
war, and brought about such an amount of misery. 

4 So long as Europe does not do this, and Kussia goes on 
flattering herself with the hope that she can undermine the 
Franco-English Alliance, and make the two Powers jealous 
of each other by dividing their views as to the conditions to 
be insisted on, so long will that peace which you most 
naturally desire be out of the question. Were this Alliance 
to be broken up, I need not say to you that there would be 
no longer any security for Europe, and for Belgium even less 
than for any other part of Europe. 

I know not whether I have succeeded in placing our posi 
tion in a clear light before you. At any rate, my object has 
been to explain it so fully that you might thoroughly see 
it, as it seemed to me to be the object of your letter that I 
should do so as far as possible. 

Windsor Castle, 24th December, 1855. 

Nothing could show more clearly than this letter how 
thoroughly English at heart, in the best sense, the Prince 
had become. The tinge of bitterness against this country, 
which coloured the King of the Belgians letter, due appa 
rently to some dissatisfaction at the warmth with which the 
French alliance was cultivated, and to an impression that we 
were bent on prosecuting the war partly from a vindictive spirit 
against Russia, and partly in order to re-establish the damaged 
prestige of our army, seems to have wounded the Prince to the 


quick. The warmth of the feeling under which he wrote is 
visible on the face of the draft of his letter (obviously penned 
with great rapidity) in the unwonted tremulousness of the 
characters. Et tu 9 Brute f It was hard indeed that the 
spirit of the nation, and its attitude at this period of the 
struggle, should be so little appreciated by the Belgian King. 
He might certainly have remembered with what reluctance 
we embarked in that struggle, and that it was not in the 
nature of our people to continue the war one hour after the 
object was attained for which it had been begun. But that 
we should not end it one hour sooner, was no less certain, and 
this also he might have known. He no doubt thought we 
were weaker now than we were in 1854, and that this should 
make us moderate in our demands. The Prince knew that 
we were in fact stronger, and he felt convinced that our 
demands had never been otherwise than moderate. 

In the King s language the Prince could hear the echo 
of the arguments for a peace on terms favourable to Eussia, 
sedulously put in circulation by Russian agents, of which 
the Despatches from every court, including that of Parisy 
had for some weeks been transmitting the report to Lord 
Clarendon. They fell upon deaf ears in this country, \Ve 
knew what we had been righting for ; we were resolved, 
and we believed we were in a position, to obtain it. The 
peace of Europe should not be again broken for at least a 
generation, if we could help it. The firmness of our language, 
the Prince knew, had baffled the attempts to induce the 
Emperor of the French to accept conditions less stringent 
than would satisfy us. The same firmness, he believed, and, 
as the result proved, rightly believed, would make Russia 
feel, that she must either accept the conditions of peace 
which were now in her hands, or meet us in a fresh campaign, 
which we had the strongest reason to believe she was in no 
position to undertake. 


Hateful as war is, and must always he, to civilised men, 
severe as was the strain both in blood and treasure, which 
this war had imposed and was likely to impose upon us, no 
Ministry could have ventured to bring- it to a close on terms 
less stringent than those which had been offered to Russia. 
Stringent they undoubtedly were, for they involved an ac 
knowledgment of humbling defeat in the stipulations, that 
she should thenceforth erect no military or naval arsenals 
in the Black Sea, which was to be absolutely closed to 
vessels of war, and that she should consent to a rectification 
of her frontier with Turkey in Europe. This, Russia knew, 
involved the surrender of that part of Bessarabia which 
bordered the Danube, and in all her history Russia had never 
given back any territory which she had once appropriated. 

With the knowledge possessed by the Allies of the feelings 
of Russia on both these points, they had no strong belief in 
a satisfactory issue to the step taken by Austria ; and they 
continued to make their preparations as before for an effective 
renewal of the campaign in the spring of 1856. The Em 
peror of the French had suggested that a Council of War, to 
settle the course of action, should be held in Paris. Our 
Government concurring in the propriety of this step, 
named the Duke of Cambridge, Admiral Sir E. Lyons, 
Major-G-eneral Sir Harry Jones, Major-General Sir Richard 
Airey, and Rear-Admiral the Hon. R. Dundas, to represent 
England at the proposed Conference. Its first meeting was 
held at the Tuileries on the 10th of January, and was pre 
sided over by the Emperor in person ; Lord Cowley being 
present as the English political representative. Prince 
Jerome Bonaparte and his son, Count Walewski, Marshal 
Vaillant, General Delia Marmora, General Canrobert, 
Admirals Hamelin, Penaud, Jurien de la Graviere, Generals 
Bosquet, Niel, and De Martimprey, and our Naval and 
Military Commissioners, were also present. The sittings were 


continued up to the 20th of January, and although profound 
secrecy was of course maintained as to what took place there, 
the fact that they were being held was no secret, and it must 
have impressed the friends of Russia in Paris with the con 
viction that the Allies were in earnest in the indifference 
which they avowed as to whether Russia should accept the 
Austrian Ultimatum or not. Some words dropped by the 
Emperor of the French on the 29th of December in addressing 
the Imperial Griiard, whom he had recalled from the Crimea, as 
he said, not because the war was over, but because it is 
only just to relieve in their turn the regiments which have 
suffered most, were probably not without their effect in 
inducing some of the German Powers to represent at St. 
Petersburg the expediency of putting an end to the war. 
The Emperor had said, There is now in France a numerous 
and veteran army ready to show itself where circumstances 
may demand. If then the war were to continue, circum 
stances, it was apparent, might demand that a stop should 
be put to the 6 benevolent neutrality of Prussia and some 
of the smaller States, for this had notoriously neutralised 
the effect of our blockade of the Baltic, and by encouraging 
Russian commerce, and maintaining the traffic in contraband 
of war, had enabled Russia to prolong the conflict. 

The period limited for the reply to the Austrian Ultimatum 
was the 18th of January. Still trusting, apparently, to her 
friends in Paris, Russia made one more struggle to get the 
obnoxious stipulations struck out from the Austrian Ulti 
matum. Count Nesselrode submitted counter propositions- 
with this view, and for a short time it was doubtful whether 
these might not have been entertained in Paris. Writing 
to Baron Stockmar on the 16th of January, the Prince says : 
Whether we shall have peace, and what kind of peace, or a 
continuation of the war, and of what kind, is at this moment 
hard to say. The elements are not the best ; best of all is 


the good faith and loyalty (Ehrlichkeif) of Louis Napoleon 
towards us, of which he gives daily proofs. He had just 
given proof of this by a direct personal communication with 
the English Government, and by deferring to their opinion, 
that the Russian modifications were inadmissible. 

Before this fact could be known, the time for a Russian 
decision would have run out. But, on the 16th, the Queen 
and Prince had the satisfaction of hearing that the firmness 
of their Government had produced the result which, but for 
that firmness, would certainly not have been effected. By 
a telegram dated from Berlin at eight o clock in the evening 
of that day, the King of Prussia, with an urgent request for 
secrecy, informed our Queen that he felt bound to inform her 
in all haste of the peace-teeming (Friedensschw anger) 
contents of a telegram which had just reached him from 
St. Petersburg, announcing that Russia accepted the pre 
liminaries of peace. It was midnight when this communica 
tion reached Windsor Castle. Next morning, the Prince 
sent it to Lord Clarendon with the following letter : 

My dear Lord Clarendon The King of Prussia s ways 
are unfathomable ! 

4 The Queen received last night the enclosed Friedens- 
schwanger telegraph I Although the King begs his name 
may remain concealed, the Queen thinks that it ought not to 
be so, from you at least, begging you not to divulge it 
further than the whole line of the telegraph may have done. 
If Russia has accepted the whole Ultimatum, as he pretends 
to know for certain, we have done wisely not to be in too 
great a hurry. The Queen wishes the telegraphic curiosity 
to be returned to her. 

Windsor Castle, 17th January, 185.5. 

In reply to this letter, Lord Clarendon said: 
The King of Prussia is certainly unable or unwilling to 


do things like other mortals, but I suppose that he hoped to be 
the tirst to communicate the news to the Queen, and thus to 
appear as having been instrumental in bringing about the 
Russian decision. 

The news is correct, as your Royal Highness will see by the 
accompanying telegrams [from Sir H. Seymour, at Vienna] 
and letter from Count Colloredo, and the Emperor of Russia 
has certainly managed his affairs ill, for he has not only accepted 
the terms which he had previously declined, but he has done so 
under menace from Austria. He seems, however, to have ac 
cepted them as a basis for peace negotiation, and there may be an 
arriere pensee in this form which will require vigilance on our 
part, as the tripotiers of Paris will now be ready for anything. I 
understand that there is the greatest excitement in the City, and 
that the funds have gone up to 90. 

Referring to the remark by Lord Clarendon on the 
qualified language in which the Ultimatum was accepted, 
the Queen, in writing the same day to his lordship, adverts 
to the danger of allowing negotiations to be begun upon a 
vague basis, and presses the necessity for having the pre 
liminaries signed before any further step was taken. If 
peace really ensued, good and well, although a better peace 
might have been obtained, hud the war gone on. However, 
Her Majesty adds, whatever happens, one consolation the 
Queen will ever have, which is, that with the one exception of 
the failure on the Redan, her noble army, in spite of every 
possible disadvantage which any army could labour under, 
has invariably been victorious ; and the Russians have 
always and everywhere been beaten, excepting at Kars, 
where famine alone enabled them to succeed. Let us there 
fore not be (as alas ! we have often been) its detractors by 
our croaking. 

The same day Lord Palmerston wrote to the Queen to 
congratulate Her Majesty upon the tidings of the Czar s 
decision : 


So far, so well, he added, and the success which has at 
tended the firmness and steadiness of purpose in regard to those 
conditions may be looked upon as a tolerably sure indication 
that a perseverance in the same course will bring the Russian 
Government to consent to those remaining conditions which 
the Austrian Government has not yet (as it says) made known 
to the Cabinet of St. Petersburg. 

Lord Palmerston then adverts to the representations in 
dustriously circulated in Paris, as to the impossibility of the 
Emperor of the French continuing the war, owing to diffi 
culties of finance, and the general desire for peace throughout 
the French nation. These he believed to be greatly exag 
gerated. He was convinced, he went on to say, that the 
Emperor of the French was perfectly master of his own 
position, and that he could, as to peace or war, take the 
course which he might determine to adopt. The cabal of 
stock-jobbing politicians by whom he is surrounded must 
give way to him if he is firm. The finance difficulty could 
scarcely be real, when the last official statement in the 
Moniteur showed a reserve surplus of twenty millions, which 
was quite enough to meet the expenses of a spring campaign 
without having recourse to a fresh loan. The letter con 
cluded thus : 

Viscount Palmerston fully concurs in the sentiment of regret 
expressed by Your Majesty to Lord Clarendon, that the last 
action of the war, in which Your Majesty s troops have been 
engaged, should, if peace be now concluded, have been the 
repulse at the Redan ; but, however it may suit national 
jealousy, which will always be found to exist on the other side of 
the Channel, to dwell upon that check, yet Your Majesty may 
rely upon it, that Alma and Inkermann have left recollections 
which will dwell in the memory of the living, and not be 
forgotten in the page of history, and although it would no doubt 
be gratifying to Your Majesty and the nation that another 
summer should have witnessed the fulfilment of the measures 
contemplated for the next campaign, yet, if peace can now be 

i855 WITH THE QUEEN. 427 

concluded on conditions honourable and secure, it would, as 
Your Majesty justly observes, not be right to continue the war for 
the mere purposes of prospective victories. It will, however, be 
obviously necessary to continue active preparations for war up to 
the moment when a definitive Treaty of Peace is signed, in order 
that the Russians may not find it for their interest to break off 
negotiations, when the season for operations shall approach, 
emboldened by any relaxation on the part of the Allies induced 
by too ready a confidence in the good faith of their adversary. 

Lord Palmerston knew well that Russian diplomatists 
would use all their skill to neutralise the defeat they had 
been compelled by the adoption of the Austrian Ultimatum 
to admit. But neither he nor Lord Clarendon were men 
to sacrifice at the Council table the positions wrested from 
their adversary in the field. They were fully alive to the 
struggle which awaited them there, and they had some 
reason to apprehend they might have to fight it single- 
handed. But they had the courage and the skill for even 
that emergency. Both were put to the proof, and it will 
hereafter be seen that they came triumphantly out of the 

That the real difficulties of the negotiation for peace were 
now to begin, seems to have been the opinion of the Prince, 
as will be seen from the following letter to his friend at 
Coburg : 

Russia has now accepted the entire Ultimatum. This 
step so completely resembles her acceptance of the Four Points 
without reserve last year, even after an Austrian menace, 
that we are naturally taken aback, and have made up our 
minds that some fresh deception is intended. As Prussia 
then hung back from taking part in the course taken by 
Austria, but when Russia accepted unconditionally, took 
credit for this to herself, and wished to be admitted into the 
Conference, so also now. The King has telegraphed the 


news direct to Victoria. " The King of Prussia to the Queen 
of England. Russia has accepted. I hasten to transmit 
the peace-teeming (Friedensschwanger} intelligence, certain 
that Your Majesty will unite with me in a heartfelt prayer 
of thanksgiving for the grace of the Almighty. Pray keep 
my name a profound secret, &c. FRIEDRICII WILHELM. 
International Telegraph Company, clerks, &c. ll. 16s. 5<L\ !" 
4 If Russia has it in contemplation to play us a trick, she is 
certain to do it this time upon the Fifth Point, 6 because it is 
upon that (as last year it was upon the third) that Austria 
has not come under obligation, and although it merely 
contains the requirement that Bomarsund shall not be forti 
fied again, or converted into a Sebastopol, this will neverthe 
less be represented as a monstrous demand, and although it 
must operate for the protection of Germany, and of Prussia 
in particular, it is certain to be viewed by these very Govern 
ments as an injustice. The only other ruse open to them is 
Kars, which was not named in the Ultimatum, because at 
that time it was not in the Russians hands. Now, as we 
have carried, and are still carrying on the war for the main 
tenance of the integrity of the Turkish Empire, unless that 
fortress be restored, the war must proceed, which would 
quite please the whole English public. We are just begin 
ning to get on our legs in a military point of view, and by 
March we shall have, united under our command in the 
Crimea, 60,000 English with 122 guns, 10,000 men of the 
Foreign Legion, 22,000 men of the Turkish Contingent, and 
15,000 Sardinians. In France things are different; although 
the French have 150,000 men upon the spot, yet they wish 
the army away from there to the Rhine, " parce que PAlle- 

5 The Fifth Point was this : The belligerent Powers reserve to themselves 
the righ f which appertains to them to procure, in an European interest, special 
conditions over and above the four guarantees stipulate! by the previous 
Articles. England had wished to specify what it desired under this head, but 
Austria had failed, contrary to our anticipation, to do so. 


nidffne ne tardera pas de subir son destin ordinaire de 
devenir le theatre de la guerre" as French officers of high 
rank phrase it. The moneyed interest is desirous of peace 
and enjoyments. But with so volatile a people all this may 
be different by to-morrow. . . . 

If our fleet is well led, I believe in the destruction of 
Cronstadt and its fleet, and that St. Petersburg will be in 
danger of a similar fate. Should peace, however, ensue, I 
shall be heartily glad, though more for Germany s sake than 
for ours. 

Windsor Castle, 24th January, 1856. 



MORE than once in the course of our narrative we have had 
occasion to show that the relations of the Queen and Prince 
to the servants of the State were not merely official, but were 
coloured by the warm sympathies of personal friendship. 
Worn and worried as Lord Clarendon was with the anxieties 
which the management of the Foreign Office imposed upon 
him at this critical juncture, he had to encounter the afflic 
tion in his home of seeing a beloved mother gradually passing 
from the world. At such a time kind words from the Sove 
reign he served so well were sure to reach him words eloquent 
of the deep personal interest in the welfare of those around 
them, by which the Queen and the Prince made service to 
them a work of love. Some such words had reached Lord 
Clarendon at the moment of his greatest grief, and in the 
same letter (12th January) in which he expresses his deep 
gratitude for Her Majesty s kindness, lie adds : Your 
Majesty may rest assured that no affliction of his own could 
make Lord Clarendon unmindful of his duty to Your Majesty, 
and he trusts that the public business will not suffer from 
the calamity that has befallen him. 

The next morning brought tidings to the Palace of Mrs. 
Villiers death, and the Queen wrote to Lord Clarendon as 
follows : 

< Windsor Castlo, 13th January, 1856. 

4 The Queen has received Lord Clarendon s letter. It is 
with deep concern that we learn that the last sad scene is 


closed, and that Lord Clarendon has lost his beloved mother. 
Such a loss is one of those which can never be repaired. It 
is one of the links which is broken on earth; but at the same 
time one which, as it were, seems to connect us already with 
another and a better world. 

It must be a consolation in the midst of his grief for 
Lord Clarendon to think that the last days indeed, the 
Queen believes, weeks of his dear mother s life were spent in 
happiness under his roof, surrounded by his children, and 
cheered by the pride she must have felt in having a son, who 
rendered such invaluable services to his country and his 

These were no mere words of courtesy. They were prompted 
by regard for the statesman to whose friendship and sagacity 
the Queen and Prince knew by experience they could appeal 
with confidence in all circumstances of nicety and difficulty, 
and whose ability in his conduct of foreign affairs, since they 
had been under his charge, had been of no small importance 
in consolidating the alliance with France and Sardinia, and 
in bringing the great conflict in which we were engaged to 
the point at which Russia found it necessary to negotiate for 

In discussing the details by which the Austrian Ultimatum 
was to be carried out into a treaty of peace, a task still 
harder than any Lord Clarendon had yet performed was still 
before him. If anything could have nerved him for it, such 
a letter as the Queen s would have done so. Within the next 
three days came the news that Russia, contrary to expecta 
tion, had accepted the Ultimatum, and it then became 
necessary to determine where and by whom, on the part of 
England, the negotiations for peace should be conducted. 
On the 18th of January, Lord Clarendon placed his views on 
the subject befora the Quean, in the following letter : 


The choice of negotiators and the place of negotiation 
have for the last twenty-four hours been occupying the attention 
of Lord Clarendon, and he humbly ventures to say, that after 
much reflection he has reluctantly come to the conclusion that he 
ought to go himself. Lord Clarendon will not pretend to dis 
guise that he is actuated in this solely by a sense of duty, as on 
many accounts it will be inconvenient and disagreeable to him, 
and he is convinced, that the higher the official position of the 
negotiator may be the more will be expected from him by the 
people of this country, and the more exclusively responsible he 
will be held for the terms in which peace is made. But no con 
ditions, which are within the pale of possible attainment, can or 
will, Lord Clarendon is almost tempted to add ought in, satisfy 
the people of England, and the approaching Conference will 
therefore be the grave of the negotiator s reputation. Lord 
Clarendon, however, feels the immense gravity of the questions 
at issue, and that nobody has been in a position to follow them 
through all their various phases as he has been, and that Your 
Majesty has, therefore, a right to expect that such experience as 
Lord Clarendon may have gained should be devoted to the par 
ticular service in question. Lord Clarendon has likewise had 
the benefit of such frequent communications with Your Majesty 
and with the Prince upon every pending question, that he feels 
he could perhaps more accurately represent Your Majesty s 
views and wishes in a Conference than any other person in the 
Cabinet or the Diplomatic service. Lord Clarendon is therefore 
prepared, should Your Majesty desire it, to act as negotiator. 

* Your Majesty will perhaps be surprised to hear, that Lord 
Clarendon, upon the whole, and after maturely weighing the ad 
vantages and the objections, has come to the opinion, that Paris 
would be the best place for the Conference. He thinks so 1st, 
because Lord Cowley could then act as one of the British nego 
tiators, and, 2ndly, because an immediate and ready access could 
then always be had to the Emperor, whose intervention will 
constantly be required to control the French Plenipotentiaries, 
and prevent their aiding the Russians to defeat all the conditions 
which they have nominally accepted. 

It is true that Paris is the centre of Russian intrigue and 
the head-quarters of Russian agents, but this is of comparatively 
little importance, if we can keep the Emperor straight, for upon 


him will depend whether we have to fight the battle of principle 
and detail alone, or in conjunction with France, and we could not 
be so sure of his support, if Lord Cowley had only to make to 
him the communications he received from the British negotiator 
at Brussels or Frankfort, which would be forestalled by the tele 
graph and thwarted by his advisers .... The French generally 
would be pleased at Paris being selected. The Emperor could 
not but regard it as a proof of confidence in himself. Russia 
proposed it, and Austria would probably prefer Paris to any 
place, not Vienna. 

The Queen was delighted with Lord Clarendon s proposal. 
Next day she wrote to him to say so. All he has said as to 
the Conference, Her Majesty added, is entirely shared by 
the Queen. Paris will be the preferable place, as the 
Emperor ought to be sur les lieux., if any good is to come of 
it ; and Lord Clarendon will act as his Minister for Foreign 
Affairs, as well as the Queen s ; and, she may add without 
hesitation, that he will find a more honest and sincere coun 
sellor in Lord Clarendon than amongst his own advisers and 
so-called friends. 

On the 31st of January Parliament was opened by the 
Queen in person. Immense crowds assembled to greet Her 
Majesty on her way to and from Westminster, and the en 
thusiasm with which she was received showed that the 
interest of the nation in the question of war or peace re 
mained unabated. The debates in both Houses fairly re 
flected the divided opinion of the country upon the subject 
of the peace, of which there seemed now to be a prospect. 
Only by those who had all along condemned the war was it 
regarded with unmixed satisfaction. The prevailing feeling 
was, that a better peace would be secured by continuing the 
war, which the country believed it was in a position to do 
with greater effect than before. The preparations for this 
were upon a gigantic scale ; the country was prosperous, and 
the burden of the war was not greater than its finances could 



easily bear. Moreover, the national spirit would have been 
gratified by an opportunity being given to the Baltic Fleet 
to achieve, what it had hitherto failed, but which it was now 
understood to be able, to achieve, the destruction of Cronstadt ; 
and it longed for a campaign, in which the army might show 
that its prowess was not to be measured by the failure of the 
attack on the Eedan an attack which some of our ablest 
Generals had declared no soldiers should ever have been called 
upon to make. But Mr. Disraeli spoke the mind of the more 
thoughtful part of the nation when he deprecated the con 
tinuance of the war for the sake of adding lustre to our arms. 
Our military fame, he said, had not been dimmed by the 
events of the war. It would not be easy for him to describe 
the immensity of the resources at our disposal, or the energy 
we had already displayed. But, he continued to say, it was 
monstrous, that nations should never engage in war unless 
they were sure to win great victories, that would figure 
among the decisive battles of the world. This would be to 
degrade us from the vindicators of public law to the gladi 
ators of history. 

The few well-timed and eloquent sentences in which Mr. 
Disraeli, amid the cheers of the House, alluded to the defence 
of Kars, spoke the sentiment of the nation. 

Let us at least, he said, whether there be peace or whether 
there be war let us express oar admiration of those, who, 
although they may have been unfortunate, were not snbdued 
let us express our sympathy for an energy perhaps excessive, 
and for a courage which we know was unsupported and at a 
moment, when we are called upon, and rightly called upon, to 
express our admiration of the great achievement, which has 
rendered the names of the Allies illustrious in the Black Sea 
let us vindicate the conduct of those who, though not crowned 
with success, were at least crowned with glory in another place, 
and let us make our absent countrymen understand, that it is 

1856 ON THE ADDRESS. 435 

the man who deserves, and not the man who achieves success, 
that is honoured by us. 

It was only to be expected of a statesman like Mr. Disraeli, 
that he should refrain from embarrassing by a word the 
Ministers on whom devolved the difficult duty of protecting 
the national interests and honour, in negotiating the terms of 
peace. How that duty was to be performed, he left those to 
decide who were responsible for its discharge. Such generosity 
among statesmen may always be counted upon as a matter of 
course. But he could scarcely have known how valuable to 
the Ministry at the time were the emphatic words with which 
he concluded his speech, in which he said that, if the negotia 
tions failed, Her Majesty might appeal with confidence to her 
Parliament to support her in a renewed struggle ; and there 
was no sum which Parliament would not cheerfully vote, or 
her people cheerfully raise, to vindicate her honour and main 
tain the independence and interests of her kingdom. 

In the House of Lords the same moderate spirit was not 
shown by Lord Derby in his speech on the Address : but the 
fiery rhetoric of the Rupert of Debate, in which he charged 
the Ministry with being supplicants to Russia for peace, 
gave an opportunity to Lord Clarendon to show how very far 
such a charge was from the truth. We had been by no 
means eager to accept the good offices of Austria ; but when 
she was prepared on her own responsibility to submit terms 
to Russia, which we believed to be fair, it would have been 
incompatible with the duty of the Government to the country 
to refuse these good offices. Speaking of the terms of peace, 
he gave great credit to the Emperor of Russia for the moral 
courage he had shown in accepting conditions which were 
understood to be displeasing to the war party in Russia. 
But in these terms there was nothing to cast a stain on 
Russian honour. 

F F 2 


Russia must be aware, said Lord Clarendon, that the 
aggressive policy which has been imputed to her is the cause 
of alarm and irritation to Europe, and that it will be re 
sisted ; and it is upon that account that she has been required 
and has consented to give guarantees for maintaining the indepen 
dence of the Ottoman Empire. I say, there is no dishonour or 
degradation cast upon Russia by the acceptance of these terms : 
the only dishonour will be in the evasion of them. 

Reports had been industriously propagated in Paris, and at 
every court in Europe, that England was bent upon prosecut 
ing +he war at all hazards for her own selfish interests, and that 
her Ministry were not sincere in the assent they had given to 
the Austrian propositions. This report, the inventors of which 
were well known to be acting in Russian interests, was creat 
ing a sore feeling in France, where peace on any terms was 
the doctrine advocated by all the opponents to the Anglo- 
French alliance. It was necessary to give it an authoritative 
denial, and Lord Clarendon, conscious how fatal its existence 
might be to his usefulness in the approaching Conferences, 
seized this opportunity for doing so : 

My lords, he said, our sincerity in these negotiations is also 
called in question. Throughout the Continent of Europe we 
are accused of insincerity in accepting these conditions. It has 
been said that, though we have accepted them, we mean to con 
tinue the war, simply because we want more war, not for any 
definite end, but in the expectation that another campaign 
would be productive of more military glory, which would serve 
to compensate us for the sacrifices we have made. I mention 
these reports, because they have been widely circulated, and 
pretty generally believed, and also because I desire on the part of 
Her Majesty s Government- to give to them the most unqualified 
denial. However much we may be aware of the spirit which 
animates the country, however much it may be regretted that 
the vast preparations which we have made preparations, such 
as there has been no instance of before in the history of this 
country should not be turned to account, and should not be 

1856 LIFE-PEERAGES. 437 

made to redound to the military and naval fame of England, yet 
I am convinced, that the number of persons who put faith in 
these reports will be very rapidly diminished, when it is seen 
that, notwithstanding all the efforts we have made, and all the 
sacrifices we have undergone, we hold faithfully to the conditions 
which we have once accepted. But should any attempt be 
made to deprive us of the conditions which we have a right to 
demand, and to which we have already agreed, then I believe 
the people of the country would be as one man. They would 
not consider any sacrifices too great to carry on the war, and 
we might then expect conditions of a very different nature from, 
those which Her Majesty s Government have now accepted, and 
to which they will frankly and honourably adhere. 

The Address in answer to the Queen s Speech was carried in 
both Houses without a division. But in the course of his 
speech on the first night of the Session Lord Derby gave 
notice of his intention to raise a question on which the 
Ministry a few nights afterwards sustained a marked defeat 
in the House of Lords. 

This was the question of the validity of the creation of a 
life-peerage in the person of Sir James Parke, under the title 
of Lord Wensleydale a measure resorted to by the Govern 
ment for the purpose of strengthening the House of Lords as 
the court of ultimate appeal. The right of the Crown to create 
a life-peerage with a right to sit in Parliament, while scarcely 
disputed in the discussions which arose, could not be shown 
to have been exercised since the reign of Kichard II. To Sir 
James Parke personally it was impossible that exception 
should be taken ; and the question of prerogative could 
not, therefore, have been raised under more favourable cir 
cumstances. But the measure was viewed with extreme 
jealousy and distrust, as the right to create life-peerages, 
with a seat in the House of Lords, if once admitted, might 
at any time be used by a Government for the purpose of 
strengthening their party in that House. Lord Lyndhurst 


brought the matter to issue on the 7th of February by a 
motion to refer the Letters Patent which had been granted 
in this case to the Committee for Privileges, with direc 
tions to examine and consider the same, and report thereon 
to the House. After an animated debate, in which the 
motion was supported with much learning and eloquence 
on both sides of the House, it was carried by a majority of 
thirty-three. The report of the Committee of Privileges was 
adverse to the right of the Crown to create life-peerages ; and 
in deference to this decision, and the strongly-expressed 
opinion of the House generally, the Patent was cancelled, and 
Sir James Parke was called to the Peerage by a Patent of 
Peerage in the usual form. 1 

The defeat on this question caused considerable embarrass 
ment to the Government ; and attempts were made to 
stimulate the popular jealousy of Royal Prerogative, and of 
foreign interference, by representing the Prince Consort as 
the chief instigator of the measure, which he was assumed to 
have devised with the ulterior object of introducing men of 
eminence in science, literature, and the arts, into the House 
of Lords. But in the excitement which prevailed in regard 
to the war, little attention had been paid by the public to 
what was undoubtedly a constitutional question of the highest 

1 The necessity for doing something to give strength to the court of ulti 
mate appeal was so strongly felt, that a Committee of the House of Lords 
was appointed, on the motion of Lord Derby (28th February), to consider the 
question. Following the recommendation of this Committee s Report, the Appel 
late Jurisdiction Bill was introduced by the Lord Chancellor in the following 
May, and passed through the House of Lords. It provided for the appoint 
ment of two Judges of five years standing as Deputy Speakers of the House 
of Lords, and enabled the Crown, if it saw fit, to grant life-peerages, with all 
the rights and privileges of Peers of Parliament, to not more than four persons, 
including the two Deputy Speakers. In the House of Commons the Bill, 
which was considered to deal very inadequately with the question of the Court 
of Appeal, found little favour. The limitation of the Royal Prerogative, which 
it implied, was also strongly objected to, and the Government had to withdraw 
the Bill, even after it passed the second reading. 


importance, and as it was in no sense one of party, the incident 
could not be said to have weakened the position of the Ministry. 
Besides, at this moment, all parties were desirous to strengthen 
their hands, and to enable the representatives of England 
at the Paris Conferences to speak the voice of an united 

Happily, if the negotiations there should fail, and the war 
should have to be renewed, England was in the best position 
financially to carry it on. The deficit for the quarter ending 
oth of April, 1856, was computed by the Chancellor at only 
about four millions. This the Rothschilds were prepared to 
contract for in 3 per cents, at 90L, agreeing at the same time 
to fund three millions of Exchequer bills on the same terms. 
These terms spoke volumes for the country s credit, but even 
more remarkable was the fact reported by Lord Palmerston in a 
letter to the Queen (22nd February), that on its becoming 
known that the Rothschilds were about to tender for this loan, 
a sum of no less than twenty-eight millions was offered to them 
by parties anxious to have a share in it, while three millions of 
deposits by these applicants were actually paid into their 
hands. With the credit of England standing so high, and 
the spirit of the nation such as it had been proclaimed to be 
by Mr. Disraeli and others in Parliament, Lord Clarendon 
could take his place at the coming Conferences, without serious 
apprehension that either the intrigues of adversaries, or the 
weakness of half-hearted friends, would prevail against his 
legitimate demands. 

He was aware, as we have seen, that it was to the Emperor 
of the French himself, and not to his Ministers, that he must 
look for support. Unity of action was as essential at the 
Council table as in the field, were, however, the Emperor s 
own words, in writing to the Queen (21st January). Acting 
upon the opening thus afforded, Lord Clarendon suggested 
that a letter to the Emperor, of which he should be the 


bearer, enforcing the same idea, would have an excellent 
effect. Accordingly Her Majesty wrote the following letter, 
in which the Emperor s expressed desire, that any divergencies 
of opinion which still existed between the two Governments 
might be removed before the Conferences were opened, finds 
the strongest echo : 

Buckingham Palace, 15th February, 1856. 

Sire and dear Brother, My Commissioners for the 
Council of War have scarcely returned from Paris, and our 
plan for the campaign has scarcely been settled, when my 
Plenipotentiaries for the Peace Conference start to assist, 
under Your Majesty s eyes, in the work of pacification. It is 
not necessary that I should commend Lord Clarendon to 
Your Majesty, but I am unwilling to let him go without 
making him the bearer of a few words from myself. 

c Although quite convinced, that in the approaching dis 
cussions no questions can arise upon which there will be a 
divergence of opinion between our two Governments, still I 
consider it of the highest importance that the most perfect 
accord should be established before the Conferences are 
opened ; and it is with this view that I have instructed Lord 
Clarendon to proceed to Paris some days beforehand, in 
order that he may be able to give an exact account of the 
opinions of my Government, and enjoy the advantage of 
becoming thoroughly acquainted with those of Your Majesty. 

It will afford me deep satisfaction at this critical moment, 
and I shall esteem it as a special proof of your friendship, if 
you will allow Lord Clarendon to explain my views to you in 
person, and to learn yours from your own mouth. 

The operations of our combined armies and fleets under 
a divided command have been subjected to enormous diffi 
culties, but these difficulties have happily been overcome. 
In diplomacy, as in war, the Russians will have a great 


advantage over us in their unity of plan and action, and I 
believe they are stronger here than in the field of battle; but, 
beyond all doubt, we shall continue to be as victorious here 
as elsewhere, if we can prevent the enemy from dividing oui 
forces, and fighting us in detail. 

4 Without wishing to cast a doubt upon the sincerity of 
Russia in accepting our propositions, it is impossible to have 
a full and entire conviction on this subject. I have every 
reason, however, to believe, that no effort and no stratagem 
will be neglected to break up, if possible, or at least to 
weaken our alliance. But in this respect I repose the same 
confidence in Your Majesty s firmness for destroying all these 
hopes, as I feel in my own and in that of my Ministers. Yet 
it is impossible to attach too much importance to the fact, 
that this common firmness shall be recognised and appreciated 
from the very outset of the negotiations, for on this, I am satis 
fied, will depend whether we shall or shall not obtain a peace, 
the terms of which can be considered satisfactory for the honour 
of France and England, and as affording adequate compensa 
tion for the gigantic sacrifices which both countries have 
made. There is yet another consideration which leads me to 
attach the greatest value to this complete accord, and it is 
this ; that if, for want of it, we were drawn into a peace that 
did not satisfy the just expectations of our peoples, com 
plaints and recriminations would spring up, which could 
scarcely fail to disturb the friendly relations of the two 
countries, in place of cementing them more closely, as it is 
my ardent desire they should be cemented. Besides, I do not 
for a moment doubt that a peace such as France and England 
are entitled to demand, will to a certainty be obtained by an 
inflexible determination not to abate the moderate demands 
which we have made. 

You will excuse, Sire, the length of this letter, but it is 
very pleasant to me to be able to give free utterance to my 


sentiments on all these important and difficult questions, to 
one whom I regard, not merely as a faithful Ally, but as a 
friend on whom I can under all circumstances rely, and who, 
I am sure, is animated by the same sentiments towards us. 

6 The Prince begs me to offer you his kindest regards, and 
I am always, Sire and dear Brother, your Imperial Majesty s 
very affectionate sister and friend, 


Lord Clarendon reached Paris on the morning of the 17th 
of February, and dined with the Emperor at the Tuileries the 
same evening. After dinner, a confidential conversation left 
the impression upon Lord Clarendon s mind, that he might rely 
upon the Emperor to stand by him throughout the negotia 
tions : 

On no occasion, he wrote next morning to the Qneen, had 
he heard the Emperor express himself more warmly or with 
greater determination in favour of the Alliance, and His Majesty 
entirely concurred with Lord Clarendon, that upon the perfect 
understanding between the two Governments, and the conviction 
on the part of others, that the Alliance was not to be shaken, 
depended the facility with which negotiations might be con 
ducted and the terms on which peace would be made. Lord 
Clarendon spoke with the utmost frankness about the flattery 
which had been, and would continue to be addressed to His 
Majesty, and the contrast perpetually drawn between England 
and France to the disparagement of the former for the purpose of 
disturbing the relations between them, but that Your Majesty 
and Your Majesty s Government had always treated these tricks 
with contempt, because the confidence in the Emperor s honour 
and loyalty was complete. Lord Clarendon dwelt particularly 
upon the feelings of Your Majesty and of the Prince on this sub 
ject, and the pleasure it gave the Emperor was evident, and he 
desired Lord Clarendon to say that Your Majesty should never 
find such confidence misplaced. He promised Lord Clarendon 
that he would give Baron Brunnow and Count Buol to under 
stand that, if they thought the Alliance could be disturbed by 


them, they would find themselves grievously mistaken, and that 
it would be waste of time to try to alter any conditions upon 
which he had agreed with the English Government. 

The Emperor appeared to be much gratified by Your Majesty s 
letter, for the first thing he said to Lord Clarendon on coming into 
the room before dinner was, " quelle charmante lettre vous mavez 
apportee de la Eeine ! " and then began upon the extraordinary 
clearness with which Your Majesty treated all matters of business, 
and the pleasure he derived from every discussion of them with 
Your Majesty. 

Early as Lord Clarendon appeared upon the scene, he 
found he had been forestalled by Baron Brunnow, one of the 
Russian Plenipotentiaries, who had arrived in Paris on the 
1 3th, not without hopes, it might be presumed, of fomenting 
the Russian and anti-English sentiment which had for some 
time been artificially stimulated in Paris. There could be 
no doubt that the feeling there was strong for bringing the 
war to a close upon any terms. The novelty and excitement of 
it had been worn out, and a war nearer home, and with more 
immediate prospects of direct material gain, would have made 
its burdens more palatable in many quarters. These views the 
Emperor did not share. He believed them, moreover, to be 
confined to the salons, and not to be shared by the nation. 
In any case he assured Lord Clarendon that, if the peace 
negotiations broke down through any attempt of Russia to 
fritter away the conditions of the Austrian Ultimatum, he 
4 should have no more hesitation, and no more difficulty with 
France, about renewing the war, than he had about declaring 
it two years ago. 2 

While the feeling in Paris in favour of peace was what we 
have described, how was the question viewed by the leading 
French officers at the seat of war ? The accounts which 
reached the English Government, from a source on which it 

2 Lord Clarendon in private Despatch to Lord Palmerston, 18th February, 


could place absolute reliance, showed, that while the terms of 
the Ultimatum were regarded as honourable to the armies, to 
whose valour they were due, and advantageous to Europe, 
they could not be taken to indicate any repentance on the 
part of Russia for the conduct which had provoked the war. 
French officers, of the highest rank, openly stated their belief, 
that Russia would never abandon her policy with respect to 
Turkey ; she would use the peace to develop all her own 
resources by land and sea, with a view to effecting her designs 
at the first favourable moment, while all her arts of diplomacy 
would in the meantime be used to sap the union between 
England and France, and to prevent any reform of the cor 
rupt and vicious administration of the Porte. The men who 
so spoke declared that what they had seen of the countries 
under Turkish rule since the war commenced had convinced 
them of the necessity for the war. We had seen, they 
said, what Turkey had done with resources which have no 
equal, and we know what Russia would do with them were 
they at her disposal. We have learned also with what skill 
Russia can turn the fanaticism of the various peoples who 
inhabit these regions to account in furtherance of her designs, 
and, while doing full justice to the moderation and estimable 
personal qualities of the Emperor Alexander, we are satisfied 
that the only true barrier to the encroachments of the policy 
of his Empire towards Turkey will be found in a lasting 
alliance between England and France. It was only because 
the Eastern Question was not understood in France, that 
these opinions were not general there. 

Meanwhile the friends of Russia were profuse in their as 
surances, that the old policy of Russia was changed, and that 
no war need ever have arisen, had the Western Powers not 
shown an undue suspicion of the intentions of the late Em 
peror. When, however, Baron Brunnow, in an interview with 
Lord Clarendon, the day after his arrival in Paris, adopted 


this line of argument, urging that the main cause of the 
war had been mistrust of the Emperor Nicholas, and that 
until confidence was established he could hope for no solid 
peace, he was given very clearly to understand that the English 
were not to be told they had been fighting under a delusion. 
Lord Clarendon replied, that he could not allow such an obser 
vation to pass unnoticed, as Baron Brunnow well knew that 
our confidence in the late Emperor had lasted much too long, 
that it had been destroyed by his own acts, and that it would 
not be restored until the acts of the present Emperor should 
justify confidence in his policy and intentions. To this 
Baron Brunnow replied, that the English Grovernment would 
have every reason to be satisfied with the Emperor, who 
intended to change altogether the political system hitherto 
adopted by Russia. But he could obtain no further con 
cession from Lord Clarendon than that he was well inclined 
to believe this, as the Emperor must know that Europe would 
no longer endure the aggressive policy on which Russia had 
hitherto acted. 

It is curious to contrast the tone of Baron Brunnow with 
that of Count Orloff, his colleague as Plenipotentiary, in a con 
versation with Lord Clarendon a few days later. Count Orloff 
made no attempt to throw the blame of the war on our distrust 
of harmless intentions on the part of the Emperor of Russia, 
but ascribed it solely to his rashness and to a blundering diplo 
macy. The Emperor, he said, had never intended to go to war, 
and did not, in fact, want to quarrel with Turkey. But a 
quarrel had been drawn on by the high-handed action of Prince 
Menschikoff, who, on account of his irritable character, ought 
never to have been sent to Constantinople. This was the 
first mistake. The next was the occupation of the Princi 
palities by Russia ; the consequences of which Count Orlotf 
said he had pointed out to the Emperor at the time. Then 
came the affair of Sinope, which was received with rejoicings 


at St. Petersburg, but which he had at once told the Emperor 
must lead to war with England. The refusal of the Turkish 
amendments to the Vienna Note, the whole diplomacy of 
Eussia, in short, he described as a series of blunders, which lost 
to Eussia good opportunities of retiring from a contest which 
should never have been undertaken. Upon this view Eus.iia, 
and not England, was the Power which had in truth drifted 
into the war, borne along upon the current of her own dicta 
torial passion, and blinded by her contempt for the fancied 
weakness of the Turkish nation. 

When Prussia saw that negotiations for peace were to be 
entered upon, the ignoble side of the position in which her 
vaunted neutrality had placed her seems to have become for the 
first time palpable to the King, and he became most anxious 
that his kingdom should be represented at the Conferences. 
Austria, alleging gratitude for his good offices in support of her 
Ultimatum at St. Petersburg, was ready to concede the claim. 
It was, however, met by a decided refusal both in Paris and 
London, and in this strait the King invoked the assistance of 
the King of the Belgians. But if King Leopold ever enter 
tained the idea of using his influence on the King of Prussia s 
behalf, either at the Court of St. James s or of the Tuileries, 
he was not likely to act upon it, ev^n although his opinion 
went, as it seems to have done, in the King s favour, after 
learning from Prince Albert, as he did in the following letter, 
how firmly the English Cabinet was resolved to turn a deaf 
ear to any such application. On the 16th of February, 
the day Lord Clarendon started for Paris, the Prince 
wrote : 

4 My dear Uncle, Accept my best thanks for your kind 
letter. ... It seems to me to have been prompted by two 
feelings : one, the apprehension that we might be inclined to 
do something with a view to making peace impossible ; and 


the other, the wish to see Prussia admitted into the Conferences 
at Paris. 

I am able to share neither this wish nor that apprehension, 
and, to explain why, I must call your attention to our posi 
tion in regard to the Eastern Question. 

All sorts of charges are brought against us, that we are 
actuated by excessive hatred towards the Eussians, that peace 
in Europe does not suit our views, that our object has been 
to use and make a tool of France for our own objects in the 
East (because of India, &c. ) The truth of the matter, on the 
contrary, is, that a great European question was at issue, and 
France and ourselves were, and still are, the only Powers 
possessed of the firmness, the courage, and the disinterested 
ness, to grapple with it. We know very well that England is 
hated all over the Continent, that even in France it is the Em 
peror, and the Emperor alone, who is with us body and soul ; 
we have encountered endless dangers, suffered great losses, 
made gigantic sacrifices, still we have gone calmly forward 
towards the object we had set before ourselves. We are ready 
to make more extensive and greater sacrifices, if need be, to 
enforce the true solution of the question, but we hope the 
point has been reached at which it may be effected by a few 
strokes of the pen. 

We should, therefore, be acting like suicides, were we to 
entertain any intention of throwing obstacles in the way 
of peace, but it would be no less suicidal, were we to let our 
selves now at the eleventh hour be juggled (herausschwindeln 
lassen) out of the object of the war (the solution of the 
Eastern Question), or were we even to help to augment 
our difficulties by increasing the number of elements at the 
Conferences friendly to the Russians and hostile to ourselves. 
Our position in the Conferences, as I have said, will be one 
of extreme difficulty, for except the Emperor Napoleon, we 
have no one on our side. All his Ministers are susceptible to 


indirect influences, his army is more intent on war against 
Germany than against Russia, the people about him are im 
prudent, Austria is as selfish and as little to be relied on as ever, 
she will care only about the Principalities and Bessarabia as 
Austrian interests, and on all other questions will leave us 
in the lurch. Russia will not yield one hair s breadth more 
than she is forced to yield. 

It is all very well to say, that your arguments were 
listened to by the Emperor Alexander, exactly the same 
story is told to the King of Prussia by the people about him. 
It is all very well that Herr von Beust should claim for 
himself the whole merit of the recent peaceful disposition, 
and should even be out-bidden on that point by Herr von See- 
bach, &c. &c. All this is very good to hear, and useful for 
the Russians to say, because by doing so they impose upon 
all their counsellors the obligation to place themselves now 
upon their side in return. But for all that the truth re 
mains, that Russia is doing what she cannot help doing ; and 
if she can shake off the compulsion, which consists in the 
English and French Alliance, and in the readiness of that 
Alliance to continue the war, and also of late, in the accession 
of Austria to that alliance, with the (at least possible) prospect 
of ultimately taking part in the war, she will be ready and 
disposed to shake it off ; and the danger will lie in this, that 
in the hope of being able to shake it off, she may suffer her 
self to be misled again into rejecting the conditions which we 
look upon as necessary and indispensable. 

As for the special claims of Prussia or even of Grermany 
(which Herr von Beust wishes to represent at the Confer 
ences) to take part in the negotiations, these have no sort 
of foundation. It is not revenge nor the wish to punish her, 
which prevents us from admitting them, for this would be 
childish ; but, over and above the justifiable fear of increasing 
the number of our opponents in the approaching discussions, 

1856 TO KING LEOPOLD. 449 

we are actuated by the conviction, that it would be a most 
perilous precedent for the future to admit the principle, that 
Powers may take a part in the great game of politics, without 
having laid down their stake. In this way they can only 
be gainers, while they leave the losses to others. Besides, the 
question here is between Powers who have waged war against 
each other and wish to conclude a peace. What right, then, 
have others to interfere, who have taken no part in the con 
flict, and have constantly maintained that their interests are 
not touched by the matter in dispute, and that therefore they 
would not take any part in the business ? 

. . . . Lord Clarendon starts to-day for Paris. That 
Baron Brunnow has received permission to ensconce himself 
(sick einzunisten) there, even before the representatives of 
the Allies were upon the ground, shows with what difficulties 
we shall have to contend, for the Emperor [of the French] 
had expressly forbidden it. 

The arguments against the admission of Prussia to the 
negotiations for peace were manifestly unanswerable. When, 
however, the immediate dispute between the belligerents 
was adjusted, if any general treaty in the interests of Europe 
came, as it probably would, to be discussed, then would be 
the time to admit Prussia into council. It was natural, how 
ever, that exclusion of Prussia at the earlier deliberations 
should create a feeling of regret in those who had the dignity 
of the kingdom at heart. This feeling seems to have been 
expressed by the Prince of Prussia in writing to the Prince, 
who met his representations with his accustomed frankness 
in a letter, on the llth of March, from which we translate the 
following passage : 

In the present case the difference between your views and 
mine is in appearance only, for I must wish as heartily as 
yourself that Prussia should maintain her position as one of 



the Great Powers, and as such should be a party to a general 
European treaty ; but, while so wishing, precedence must be 
given to the necessity that an honourable and secure peace with 
Russia shall first have been secured, in obtaining which the 
whole labour falls upon England, and to the obtaining of 
which long and alas ! often renewed experience has shown us, 
that nothing would create such serious obstacles as the in 
fusion of the Berlin element (if I may so call it) into the 
transactions of the Conference. Firmness and perseverance 
on our part have so far prevailed hitherto, despite the most 
decided disinclination on the part of Eussia even to carry 
out the points of the Austrian Ultimatum, which she had 
accepted, that I begin to believe in peace ; and so soon as 
that is assured, I have no doubt it will be followed by an 
invitation to Prussia to take part in the general treaty. 
Should this prove to be the case, you will admit that the 
Western Powers could not possibly have behaved more justly 
or dispassionately. 

What the Prince here shadowed out in fact took place ; and 
on the 18th of March the Prussian Plenipotentiaries were ad 
mitted to the Conference, and took part in the discussions 
which resulted in the General Treaty of Peace. 

Highly as the Emperor of the French appreciated the prin 
ciples which guided the British Sovereign and her Consort in 
all public affairs, even he would have been surprised, could 
he have known how firm was the attitude which had been main 
tained by the Prince in regard to Prussia. That this is so, 
is very obvious from the following account of a conversation 
with him which occurs in a letter from Lord Clarendon to the 
Queen, on the 25th of March : 

* On Sunday when talking of the difficulties raised by the 
Prussian Plenipotentiaries, the Emperor said he cared nothing 
about Prussia, and that England had much more interest in 


pleasing the King of Prussia than France. Lord Clarendon 
asked what that interest was. The Emperor answered, the 
marriage of the Princess Royal, which must make the Queen 
anxious to be on good terms with Prussia. Lord Clarendon 
said, that the Emperor was greatly mistaken, if he thought that 
the private feelings of Your Majesty ever interfered with what 
Your Majesty might think right for the honour or the interests 
of England, and that long before the Emperor had made up his 
mind on the subject, Lord Clarendon knew that Your Majesty 
had determined, and had made no secret of the opinion, that to 
admit Prussia to take part in the negotiations for peace, after 
her conduct throughout the war had been condemned by Your 
Majesty s Government, would be degrading to England, and a 
proof that she viewed political immorality with indifference. 
The Emperor answered : " Savez-vous, que c est Men beau ? cela 
fait plaisir d entendre. Je suis blen aise que vous me Vayez 

G G 2 



AT the very moment when the country was looking forward 
to a speedy end to the war, military reformers had a fresh 
impetus given to their agitation by the publication of the 
Eeport of Sir John MacNeill and Colonel Tulloch, who had 
been sent out by the Government to the Crimea in February 
1855 as Commissioners to inquire into the causes of the 
break-down in the Commissariat and other departments. 
They had issued a first Report from Constantinople, in June 
of that year, which had led to the recall by the Government 
of the Commissary-General. A second and final Report, 
which reached the Grovernment on the 20th of January, had 
been presented to Parliament soon after its meeting, and 
in this great blame was thrown upon Lords Lucan and Car 
digan, Sir Richard Airey, and the Hon. Colonel Gordon. Lord 
Lucan had since his return from the Crimea been appointed 
Colonel of a regiment, and Lord Cardigan Inspector of 
Cavalry, while Sir Richard Airey and Colonel Gordon 
were respectively Quartermaster, and Deputy-Quartermaster 
General, the latter having received his appointment in 
October, and the former in December 1855. 

While these officers, on the one hand, complained, not 
without reason, that the Report of the Commissioners 
should have been made public without their having an 
opportunity of being heard in their own defence, the army 
reformers in Parliament were eager, on the other hand, to 
base upon the Report a public censure of the officers in- 


criminated by it. On the 15th of February Mr. Layard gave 
notice that on that day fortnight he would move a resolution 
expressive of the regret of the House of Commons at observ 
ing that those persons, whose conduct in respect of certain 
departments, as shown in the Report of the Commission of 
Inquiry into the supplies of the British army in the Crimea, 
had caused great and unnecessary suffering and loss in ttat 
army, had received honours and rewards, and had been 
appointed to, and still held, responsible offices in the public 
service. The statements in the Report, unqualified as they 
were by any explanations on the other side, or by any in 
dication that they did not carry with them the full assent of 
the Government, produced very naturally a deep and general 
impression on the public mind. The Ministry, finding that 
this would probably lead to Mr. Layard s motion being 
carried, had to consider how the public feeling would be 
satisfied, and a fair opportunity be at the same time afforded 
to the officers in question to vindicate themselves. They there 
fore resolved to appoint a Royal Commission, composed of 
officers of high standing, to investigate the charges raised on 
the Commissioners Report, a course, for which a precedent was 
found in the Military Commission appointed in 1805 to inquire 
in regard to the Convention of Cintra. On the 2 1 st of February 
Lord Panmure announced this intention in the House of 
Lords. The plan was generally approved, but in what was 
said by more than one speaker, the Grovernment did not 
escape animadversion for having laid the Report before Par 
liament without first giving the officers inculpated an oppor 
tunity of explanation, or accompanying its production with 
a statement of the conclusions which they had themselves 
formed upon it. 

The same evening Lord Derby raised a discussion as to 
the relative duties of the Commander-in-Chief and the 
Secretary of State for War, and especially as to their respon- 


sibility for the higher appointments in the army. In reply, 
Lord Panmure gave a clear statement of the separate 
functions of the two departments, and of the measures for 
which both shared the responsibility, and concluded with an 
appeal to the House to think well before it consented to 
increase the authority of the Minister and diminish that of 
the Commander-in-Chief, by committing to the former, as 
some military reformers wished, the administration of the 
patronage of the army. In closing the discussion Lord 
Derby approved strongly of the proposed Military Commis 
sion as the right means of redressing whatever injustice had 
been done by the premature publication of Sir John MacXeill s 
Report. He at the same time expressed warm satisfaction at 
having obtained the assurance, that the Government intended 
to maintain inviolate in the hands of the Commander-in- 
Chief the control of the discipline, the organisation, and the 
patronage of Her Majesty s army. 

The Government proposal did not, however, pass unchal 
lenged. In the House of Commons Mr. Roebuck, on the 
29th of January, moved that the appointment of the proposed 
Military Commission would substitute an inefficient for a 
very efficient mode of inquiry, and that its effect would be to 
hide the misconduct of those, by whom various departments 
of our army had been subjected to the command of officers 
who had been inculpated by the Commissioners appointed to 
inquire into their conduct. The debate which ensued was 
enlivened by not a few personalities, the chief offender being 
General Sir De Lacy Evans, who made vehement attacks 
upon General Simpson, among others, but more especially 
upon Colonel Gordon, whom he sneered at as the Palace 
favourite, probably because he had been, before the war, one 
of the Prince s equerries. The introduction of General 
Simpson s name provoked a severe rebuke from Mr. Glad 
stone. The defence of Colonel Gordon was urged with 


admirable temper and good taste by his brother. But his 
vindication from the special charge brought against him was 
completed at a later stage of the debate by his relative Lord 
Claud Hamilton, who had apparently been furnished in the 
meantime with the materials for disproving an attack, of 
which no previous intimation had been given. 

The vindication was unanswerable, but the speaker, not 
content with this, seized the opportunity to complete the dis 
comfiture of General De Lacy Evans, by charging him with 
having advised Lord Raglan, after the battle of Inkermann, 
to embark his troops with all speed, and to leave his siege 
material behind him. The statement produced a profound 
sensation, especially as General Evans, in a feeble reply, all 
but admitted the charge. He was not much more successful 
in a further attempt, a few nights afterwards, to explain it 
away, after having, upon the same occasion, expressed strong 
regret for the terms in which he had spoken of both General 
Simpson and Colonel Gordon. A general desire was, however, 
shown not to press the matter further, and Mr. Disraeli, 
while maintaining that Lord Claud Hamilton had been justi 
fied by the information in his possession in saying what he 
had said as to the extraordinary advice alleged to have been 
given to Lord Raglan, stopped further discussion by referring 
to the well-understood rules of the House, according to which 
statements of this kind could not be satisfactorily met. 1 The 

1 It was understood at the time that Lord Claud Hamilton did not make 
his statement without authority. It is certainly corroborated by the following 
Memorandum by Sir Edmund Lyons, which he sent to Sir Charles Wood on 
the 7th of March, 1856, after having first had it confirmed by Captain Drum- 
mond. We print it from a copy among the Prince s papers : On the way 
back to Balaclava from the field of Inkermann, Sir De Lacy Evans rode up to 
me whilst I was riding with Captnin Drummond of the Retribution, and told 
me that he had just urged Lord Eaglan to embark the army immediately. 
"What," I said, " leave th? guns, the sick and wounded here?" He replied, 
" The guns, certainly," and he added, that Lord Raglan would not be the first 
great General who had done so : that it would certainly require a great mind 


House, who had voted the thanks of the nation to Sir De Lacy 
Evans some months before for his gallant conduct at Inker- 
mann, gladly adopted this view. On the main question it 
had shown clearly, during the progress of the debate, that 
it looked with no favour upon Mr. Eoebuck s motion, where 
upon that gentleman, finding himself, in his own words, as 
he usually was, happily in a minority, declared that he would 
not put the House to the trouble of dividing. On this the 
House went into committee on the more material question of 
the Army Estimates, and with more than usual alacrity, voted 
six millions and a half on account. 

The Prince had, as we have seen, been looking eagerly for 
the return of Baron Stockmar to England. He was most 
anxious that the Baron should be present at the Confirmation 
of the Princess Eoyal, which was soon to take place. Not 
less so was the Baron, to whom the Princess was especially 
dear, but one thing after another had prevented him from 
carrying out his intention. On the 25th of February the 
Prince wrote to him : 

That you should put off your coming in this way is really 
too bad ! You should in any case be present at the Confir 
mation. . . . We are tolerably well in this world of troubles. 

The Peers have carried their motion against the Preroga 
tive of the Crown, and the idea that / intended to bring 
Lords Playfair, Babbage, and Murchison into the Upper 
House has served as one of the principal inducements to that 
result ! 

to come to such a resolution, but he hoped Lord Raglan was the man to do it. 
I answered, that I thought I knew Lord Raglan well enough to be sure that he 
would do no such thing. Sir De Lacy Evans still urged his view of the case, and 
when I found all other arguments fail, I observed that we ought to consider 
what the French would do under the circumstances; and I added, that they 
would either be forced to accompany us, and in that case would justly accuse 
us of having betrayed them, or that they would remain, and take the place 
without us, or that they would be destroyed for want of our support, and 
that thenceforth " perfide Albion " would be household words in France. 


The Army debate in the Upper House has, on the other 
hand, done a very great deal of good, and strengthened and 
placed on a distinct footing the position of the Commander-in- 
Chief and of the Crown towards the Army and Parliament. 

6 Lords Lucan and Cardigan, Sir Eichard Airey and Colonel 
Grordon, are now to be brought before a Military Commission, 
where they hope to justify themselves triumphantly, while 
The Times is furious that its victims are rescued from its 

The Conferences in Paris began yesterday. Bessarabia 
appears to be the point which the Kussians are most reluc 
tant to swallow, but this is the one which of all others has 
been expressly recognised in the Ultimatum. Lord Claren 
don seems to have bien pris sa position, and to inspire 
general confidence ; still, the outcry of the Paris salons, that 
it is only England that does not wish for peace, is doing us 
serious harm. 

6 Phipps has had his daughter, who was just married, at 
death s door in Paris, and was summoned thither a week 
ago. She is now better, and I have recalled him, so as to 
give the malicious world no warrant for the gossiping rumour, 
which is already current, that the Court is more pacific than 
Palmerston, and would be well pleased that the Kussians 
should keep themselves en rapport with it. 

The things of all sorts that are laid on our shoulders, i.e. 
on mine, are not to be told. People feel that a certain 
power exists which has not thrust itself ostentatiously for 
ward, and therefore they fancy it must be doing harm, 
even although the results of what it does must all be ad 
mitted to be good. The logic of their inference is not very 

Still our exhortation to you is, " Come ! Come ! " 

In his retreat at Coburg the Baron appears to have kept 


up an active correspondence with some of the ablest and best 
informed politicians in Europe. The striking phenomenon 
of Russia accepting conditions of peace which up to the 
Last hour she had rejected as inadmissible, no doubt led to 
every kind of conjecture as to its cause among the diviners 
of the secret motives by which the actions of States are 
governed. The simple solution, that Russia was unable to 
prolong the conflict, that in fact she yielded, as the Prince 
had written to King Leopold, that she alone would yield 
because she could not help doing so, and knew that she 
would only make matters worse for herself by resisting, 2 was 
too simple for minds sharpened by that habitual distrust of 
ostensible reasons, which is generated by diplomatic experi 
ence. But except in the statement that Russia was now 
disposed to conclude a peace from prudence, and not from 
necessity, the views expressed by the correspondent quoted 
in the following letter from Baron Stockmar, which the 
Prince received at this time, are those of a man who must 
have been very much behind the scenes at more Courts than 
one. They tallied closely with those at which the Queen 
and Prince had arrived from the information which reached 
them through other channels : 

6 A well-informed correspondent writes to me within the 
last few days as follows : 

" Russia does not conclude the peace from necessity, but 
from prudence. She has not suffered so much as her adver- 

2 The language of the abler of the Russian plenipotentiaries at Paris to 
Lord Clarendon was : We have been beaten. Russia is humiliated, and she is 
about to sign a Treaty such as never was signed by Russia before. Read this by 
the light of what is now known as to the fearful losses in men sustained by 
Russia, as well as to her exhaustion in the material and sinews of war, and there 
can be but one conclusion. General Delia Marmora, after his return to Turin, 
told our Ambassador there, The Russians had no cavalry left, guns unhorsed, 
regiments unofficered, the men armed with flint and steel muskets in short, 
they were dead beat. 


saries imagine ; on this point do not be deceived. Her 
aim is rather to profit by the peaceful disposition of Europe, 
and by the assumption of a peaceful attitude ; and this at the 
expense of England, which alone would be made the scape 
goat if the Conferences should break down. Russia will gain 
over France, and spare Austria, until a good opportunity 
occurs to read her a sharp lecture, but no longer. On the 
other hand, Austria seems for the moment to think of nothing 
but of doing a good stroke of business for herself, with the 
arriere pensee, if things come to a rupture, of attaching her 
self again to Russia, and renewing in such an event the 
former Northern Alliance, rather than adhering to the 
December treaty with the Western Powers. And at this 
moment this renewal is also the sole object of the Prussian 
policy, if there be anything there that deserves the name. 

" On the other hand, the personal relations of Napoleon 
with England appear to be sincere and unwavering, but it is 
a wholly different question whether as much can be said of 
the French Government and people. This much I know for 
certain, that the dabblers in stocks in Paris are extremely 
sensitive to Russian intrigues, and the country itself very 
tired of the war ! How if, in order to conclude a peace a 
tout prix within the sphere of diplomatic negotiation, a * re 
vision of the Treaty of 1815 should be manoeuvred? Out 
of that strange results might ensue.* 

6 " Russia is most anxious that Prussia * should remain out 
side the sphere of the peace negotiations, because Prussia 
will be thereby still further alienated from England."* 

Those two last passages, which I have marked with a 
star, gave me cause for reflection ; all the more that what 
they contain had, before the receipt of the letter, already 
struck my own mind as probable. And I have felt the more 
bound to attach weight to these conjectures, from having a 
short time before heard from a French source in these terms : 


" Is it then so probable that the idees Napoleoniennes 
have been abandoned ? I do not believe it. Could not some 
of them be realised through a Congress, now that experience 
has shown that it is not easy to bring them to pass by pro 
longation of the war? 3 Is not the Emperor in a position, out 
of the peace negotiations, to bring about a Congress, which, 
eo ipso, shall effectuate, as upon a stage, a complete change 
of scene, and so pave the way for new phases, new relations 
and dependencies, new and hostile alliances ? Why should 
not a Tilsit scene be performed before long as it was in 1807? 
How would England stand then ? " 

I sit here in the dusk, and cannot in the least decide 
whether the people who are on the spot and in the daylight 
are right. But amid the darkness I can still descry one 
great difficulty. Such an interest as must of necessity be 
created by an alliance between France and Kussia, and the 
establishment of which can alone give fitness, stability, and 
purpose to the Alliance, is in direct opposition to all the 
present interests of Austria, Prussia, and Germany. A Russo- 
French alliance will, therefore, hardly venture in 1 856 upon 
what it was able to do in 1802 and 1808 with success. It 
will have no feasible object. 

21st February, 1856. 

The difficulties, which Lord Clarendon encountered in 
Paris between his arrival there and the meeting of the Con- 

8 A few weeks later (13th April) Lord Clarendon writing to Lord Palmerston 
expressed the same opinion. I see, he wrote, that the idea of a European 
Congress is germinating in the Emperor s mind, and with it the arrondissement of 
the French frontier, the abolition of obsolete Treaties, and such other remanic- 
ments as may be necessary. I improvised a longish catalogue of dangers and 
difficulties that such a Congress would entail, unless its decisions were unani 
mous, which was not probable, or one or two of the strongest Powers were pre 
pared to go to war for what they wanted. He does not wish for such a Con 
gress immediately, but he is looking ahead, and foresees that in a year or two, 
when the French people get tired of the arts of peace, he shall want something 
new and striking for their amusement. 


ference, put the firmness and sagacity of himself and his 
coadjutor Lord Cowley to a severe trial. The attempts to 
shake the attachment of the Emperor of the French to the 
English alliance proved utterly ineffectual ; but, feeling less 
strongly than we did the importance of the guarantees which 
we considered essential to the peace of Europe, he was not 
indisposed to turn a favourable ear to some of the Eussian 
proposals, which would have greatly qualified the conces 
sions they had made in their acceptance, pure and simple, of 
the Austrian Ultimatum. Since that acceptance had been 
given, Kars had fallen, and the Russian Plenipotentiaries 
now wished to stipulate that the Allies should abandon the 
condition as to surrender of Russian territory in Bessarabia, 
in return for the restoration by Russia of the Turkish terri 
tory, including Kars, in Asia Minor, of which the Czar was 
in military possession. This would have been effectually to 
defeat the object of the Ultimatum in one of its most vital 
points, viz., the ; efficacious assurance of the freedom of the 
Danube and its mouths, besides implying a surrender of the 
fundamental principle for which the Allies had gone to war, 
namely, the maintenance of the integrity of the Turkish 
Empire. England had also insisted from the first upon the con 
dition that Russia should come under engagement not again 
to fortify the Aland Islands in the Baltic. Our Government 
had wished this to be made known to Russia by Austria at 
the time her Ultimatum was forwarded to St. Petersburg as 
one of the special conditions which we should require under 
the fifth article of the Ultimatum. Austria had not com 
plied with this wish, and her failure to be as explicit as 
England thought she ought to have been, in fairness to 
Russia, led to serious difficulty. 

Lord Clarendon was determined to negotiate no Treaty in 
which these terms were not secured. The Emperor of the 
French, however, less able to appreciate their importance, 


and having in the wretched state of his army in the Crimea 
a stronger motive than England for peace, would not have 
been indisposed to make some concessions, on the ground, 
that as the main objects of the war had been gained, it was 
only becoming, in two great nations, like France and England, 
4 defaire le genereux et le gentleman. This, Lord Claren 
don had to tell him, might be a pleasant pastime for His 
Majesty, who was irresponsible, but the English Government 
had some masters to consult called Parliament and Public 
Opinion, to say nothing of Party Spirit, and, if we made a 
Treaty, which we could not defend, we might be sure that 
the attacks upon it would soon find an echo in Paris, and be 
quite as damaging to His Majesty as to Lord Palmerston s 

The Emperor felt the force of these representations, and 
they determined him in supporting the English views. But 
he found some difficulty in counteracting the mischief which 
had been already done by his representatives as well as by 
himself, in having let the Eussian Plenipotentiaries see that 
they were inclined to entertain easier terms than those on 
which England considered that by the express language of the 
Ultimatum she was entitled to insist. 

It was still uncertain, whether Eussia would give way upon 
the points we have indicated, and some others of minor 
moment, when the Prince wrote the following letter to Baron 
Stockmar : 

Buckingham Palace, 10th March, 1856. 

6 In Paris we have no peace as yet. Eussia shows no 
inclination to carry out honourably even one of the conditions 
which she had already accepted, unless under compulsion, 
and we are the only constraining force. In France they are 
anxious for peace, and the Eussians hear nothing else from 
morning till night : in Austria they do not want war, and 


the Russians know this also. We are ready to continue 
fighting, and ^ue might even carry the others along with us ; 
but would this be prudent ? Yet it may come to this, and 
the Russians run the risk, to which they have been liable 
since 1853, of misunderstanding the real state of affairs, and 
of once more forfeiting peace, through unbelief in the 
possibility of Europe continuing the war ! It would be a 
strange spectacle, however, were Orloff and Brunnow to 
withdraw, and peace not to be arranged, because they 
declined to concede what they accepted on the Austrian 
Ultimatum, and again in the Vienna Protocol, and for the 
third time at the opening of the Conferences, as the Pre 
liminaries of Peace. 

c Here the House of Commons and the Press vie with each 
other in follies ( Unarten) of every description, and all real 
power of resistance seems for the moment to have vanished. 
On the other hand, the most immense sums are voted to the 
Government without a moment s inquiry or opposition. 

A few days before this letter was written (3rd March), the 
Emperor of the French had pronounced the customary 
address at the opening of the Chambers for the legislative 
Session. To speak at such a crisis must have tasked even 
his great ability in composing manifestoes to the nation. 
But he was equal to the difficulty. The spirit with which 
the country had supported him in the war, the great feat of 
arms achieved at Sebastopol, the English Alliance, the 
recent visit of the English Queen, the fact that, while France 
had sent 200,000 men across the sea to the seat of war, she 
had proved in the Great Exhibition the strength of her 
resources in the arts of peace, were all touched upon with 
great skill. Neither was the gallantry of Sardinia forgotten, 
nor the treaty recently concluded by France and England 
with Sweden. Finally, adverting to the efforts of Austria to 


promote a peace, in support of which, he said, advice or peti 
tions were sent to St. Petersburg from all the Cabinets of 
Europe, he spoke of the Emperor of Russia in graceful terms 
as the inheritor of a situation which he had not brought 
about, and as seeming to be animated by a sincere desire to 
put an end to the causes which had occasioned this sanguinary 
conflict. While avowing his hope, that the spirit in which 
the Plenipotentiaries of the belligerent Powers had met to 
discuss the terms of peace would lead to a favourable result, 
he guarded himself against the expression of any undue 
anxiety for such a result, by calling on his people to be equally 
ready, if need be, to unsheathe the sword again, or to 
offer the hand of friendship to those whom we have fairly 

By the time this address was delivered, Russia had given 
way upon most of the material points of difference. But on 
the line of the Bessarabian frontier, she showed great re 
luctance to yield, and during many days it was uncertain 
whether an arrangement could be come to. At length, how 
ever, a line was agreed upon, 4 and on the 10th of March, 
Lord Clarendon was able to write to Lord Palmerston, that 
peace might almost be looked upon as a fait accompli. 

How the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia were 
to be dealt with had formed one of the subjects discussed at 
the Conference. Great variety of opinion existed on this 
question ; but instead of dealing with it conclusively in the 
Treaty of Peace, which might have occasioned considerable 
delay, it was decided to lay down in the Treaty the principles 

4 When the line came some time afterwards to be traced on the ground, 
great discussion and difficulty arose as to one part of its course, where, in terms 
of the Treaty, it was to pass to the south of Bolgrad. It appeared that this 
would have retained for Russia the town of Bolgrad, which had not been 
intended by the other parties to the treaty, who had been misled by a map 
used at the Conference, on which the small town of Tabac was marked as 


upon which the settlement was to be made, leaving the applica 
tion of those principles to form the subject of a supplementary 
Convention. Accordingly it was provided, that the Prin 
cipalities should continue to enjoy their existing privileges 
and immunities under the suzerainty of the Porte, and under 
the guarantee of the contracting Powers, the Porte engaging 
to preserve to them an independent and national administra 
tion, as well as full liberty of worship, of legislation, of 
commerce and of navigation. 

The manner in which these provisions were to be carried 
out led subsequently to much angry controversy, as might 
have been anticipated from the very opposite views of 
Austria and the Porte on the one hand, and of France and 
Russia on the other. The Emperor of the French had very 
early developed to Lord Clarendon his strong conviction in 
favour of the union of the Principalities under a sovereign of 
their own choice. This is Lord Clarendon s report to Lord 
Palmerston of what passed in a conversation between them 
on the 6th of March; subsequent events have shown how just 
were the apprehensions, which were strongly felt by English 
statesmen and expressed at the time, of the injury to Turkey 
which was likely to result from the Emperor s proposal : 

The Emperor said the great fault committed by the Congress 
of Vienna was that the interests of the sovereigns were only 
consulted, while the interests of their subjects were wholly neg 
lected ; and that the present Congress ought not to fall into a 
similar error. From all the information that reached him, the 
Emperor said he was convinced that nothing would satisfy the 
people of Wallachia and Moldavia but the union of the Princi 
palities under a foreign Prince, who should nevertheless admit 
the suzerain power of Turkey, and that it would be disgraceful 
to England and France, if they had not the will or the power to 
establish a state of things in the Principalities that would be in 
accordance with the wishes of the people, and manifestly be an 
improvement upon the feeble attempt at reorganisation that had 
been proposed at Constantinople. 



I said that I was not prepared to deny that the plan which 
His Majesty was desirous to adopt might be the best for the 
Principalities, and I thought it well worthy of consideration, but 
that there were serious difficulties in the way of its adoption, 
which could not be overlooked. In the first place, it might not 
be easy to find a foreign Prince fit for the difficult task he would 
have to perform, who would admit the suzerainty of the Porte, 
and he must be either of the Roman Catholic or the Greek 
religion. If the former, the Greek priests and the people of the 
Principalities would, from the first moment, be in bitter opposi 
tion to him, and, in order to sustain himself, he would have to 
rely upon Russian aid and influence. If he was of the Greek 
religion, all his sympathies would be with Russia, and I much 
feared that we should be establishing another kingdom not 
unlike Greece, but in a locality where the results would be still 
more disastrous to Europe. From a conversation which I had 
had with Count Buol, I had become aware that the objections of 
Austria to the union of the Principalities were insurmountable, 
and those of Aali Pasha (the Turkish Plenipotentiary) were not 
less strong. Indeed, I said, Turkey would have a good right to 
complain, for she would well know, that the foreign Prince so 
established would, within a few years, be able to throw off the 
suzerainty of the Sultan and become independent. The same 
system must also necessarily be established in Servia as in 
Moldavia and Wallachia ; and it would be attended with the 
same consequences. 

Turkey would thus be deprived of about six millions of her 
subjects, and her power and position in Europe would be at an 
end, and I did not see what answer could be given to the Sultan 
if he appealed to us as the defenders of the integrity of the 
Ottoman Empire against such an act of spoliation. 

The Emperor said that at all events he wished the subject to 
be discussed by the Conference. 

It was so discussed, and with the result which we have 
stated. But that result left a question open, which led not 
long afterwards to the very brink of an European war. 

The tidings which at this time reached the Prince of the 
precarious state of Baron Stockmar s health put an end to 


any hope of seeing him in England for some time. On th-e 
16th of March the Prince wrote to him : 

We have just heard by a letter from uncle Leopold, that 
you are again ill, and that we must give up the hope of 
seeing you arrive with him to be present at the Confirmation 
on Thursday. I need not tell you that this is a great dis 
appointment for us, aggravated besides by the cause whicli 
detains you. Had you only come to us for the winter I 
Coburg does not suit you. . . . 

The Prince then adverts to the death of Herr von Hin- 
keldey, the President of Police at Berlin, in a duel on the 
10th with Herr von Eochow, a young member of the House 
of Nobles. Herr von Hinkeldey, a most valuable public 
servant of the King s, had made himself obnoxious to a 
section of the Prussian nobility by the liberality of his 
political opinions, as well as by the vigour with which he had< 
carried oat local improvements for the health and comfort of 
the community of Berlin, and still more by having made the 
aristocratic party feel, that they must hope for no exemption 
under his rule from the restrictions which were applicable 
to the rest of the King s subjects. A series of marked 
slights to himself and his family had culminated in a direct 
insult to himself by Herr von Rochow, which, according to 
the Prussian code of honour, left him no. alternative but to 
resign his office and to challenge his assailant. The duel was 
fought according to strict rule ; but the feeling among the 
middle classes in Berlin, who had looked up to von Hin 
keldey as a friend and protector, was, that morally a murder 
had been committed upon one of the King s most faithful 
and energetic servants. In reporting the occurrence to 
Lord Clarendon the same day our Ambassador at Berlin spoke 
of it as having decidedly a political origin, and one which 
might possibly be the forerunner of something more serious, 
for the death of this unhappy man is already looked upon by 

H H 2 


the Kreuz Zeitung party as the work of God, and a signal 
triumph to the feudal cause. It is to this the Prince refers 
in the next paragraph of his letter : 

How horrible are these doings in Berlin ! The assassi 
nation of the Minister Hinkeldey, for one can call it by no 
other name, is a fresh outrage of the really reckless Kreuz 
Partei ! They see in the crime the finger of God, and so 
adhere to their almost constitutional blasphemy, for the 
name of God is constantly in their mouths ! 

4 In Paris we are making progress, though slowly, and have 
readied the threshold of peace. Enemies and allies have 
combined to make the affair a very difficult one for us, and 
of subterfuges there is no end. Now Prussia is to be invited 
to become a party to the general peace, to which we shall 
very readily assent, so soon as we can feel sure that it is no 
longer in her power to mar. the peace for us. 

6 The telegraph has just brought the news of the Em 
press having been safely delivered of a son. Great will be 
the rejoicing in the Tuileries. . . . 

The tidings which were first received as to the con 
dition of the Empress occasioned considerable anxiety. But 
writing to Baron Stockmar on the 18th the Prince mentions : 
6 The accounts from Paris are better. We were in some 
anxiety about the life of the Empress, whose accouchement 
has been a more difficult affair than the public were allowed 
to be told. She has still a great deal of fever. But a letter 
to the Queen from Lord Clarendon the same day conveyed 
the Emperor s assurance that the fever was all but at an end. 
4 The Emperor s eyes, Lord Clarendon added, filled with 
tears when he described the tortures of the Empress and his 
own sensations. He said he hardly knew how to express his 
gratitude for the interest which Your Majesty had manifested 
for the Empress, and for the letters which he had received 
from Your Majesty and the Prince. 


The Emperor wrote his acknowledgments to the Prince 
on the 20th. We translate the material parts of his letter : 

* Let me thank your Royal Highness for the congratulations you 
have been so kind as to send me. I received your letter and 
that of the Queen an hour after I had written to her, so that I 
do not venture again to weary her with my letters, but I beg 
you will once more express to her all my gratitude. I have been 
greatly touched to learn that all your family have shared my joy, 
and all my hope is, that my son may resemble dear little Prince 
Arthur, and that he may have the rare qualities of your chil 
dren. The sympathy shown on this last occasion by the English 
people is another bond between the two countries, and I hope 
my son will inherit my feelings of sincere friendship for the 
Royal Family of England, and of affectionate esteem for the 
great English nation. 

On the 20th the ceremony of the Confirmation of the 
Princess Royal took place in the private Chapel of Windsor 
Castle. The Princess was led in by her father, followed by her 
godfather the King of the Belgians, and by Her Majesty 
the Queen. The Royal children and most of the members 
of the Royal Family were present, and also the Ministers, 
the great officers of State, the members of the Household, 
and many of the nobility. The Bishop of Oxford (Wilber- 
force). Lord High Almoner, read the preface, and the Arch 
bishop of Canterbury performed the ceremony. Next day the 
Prince wrote to his friend, whose absence on the occasion was 
deeply felt by the chief actor in the scene : 

It may cheer you to hear that the Confirmation yesterday 
went off exceedingly well. The preliminary examination by 
Wellesley (Dean of Windsor), which came off on Wednesday 
afternoon in the presence of ourselves, Mama, and the Arch 
bishop, was most satisfactory, and Vicky answered very well 
and intelligently. At the ceremony of Confirmation yester- 


day, a number of guests were present, whose names you will 
see in The Times. You were sorely missed by us. 

6 Everything went off extremely well. . . . This morning 
we have taken the Sacrament with Vicky, uncle Leopold, and 

6 The Peace is to be signed on Monday. It is not such as 
we could have wished, still, infinitely to be preferred to the 
prosecution of the war, with the present complication of 
general policy. 

Windsor Castle, 21st March, 1856; 

The Treaty of Peace was, in fact, signed on Sunday the 
30th of March, a day sooner than was originally contemplated, 
and announced to the public of Paris by a salute of 101 guns. 
The same day Lord Clarendon reported the fact to the Queen 
in the following letter : 

Lord Clarendon presents his humble duty to Your Majesty, 
and humbly begs to congratulate Your Majesty upon the signa 
ture of peace this afternoon. It is not to be doubted that 
another campaign must have brought glory to Your Majesty s 
firms, and would have enabled England to impose different terms 
upon Russia, but setting aside the cost and the horror of war, iu 
themselves evils of the greatest magnitude, we cannot feel sure 
that victory might not have been purchased too dearly . . . 

Lord Clarendon would not make such an assertion lightly, 
but he feels convinced that Your Majesty may feel satisfied with 
the position now occupied by England. Six weeks ago it was a 
painful position here : everybody was against us, our motives 
were suspected, and our policy was denounced ; but the univer 
sal feeling now is, that we are the only country able, ready, and 
willing, if necessary, to continue the war, that we might have 
prevented peace, but that, having announced our readiness to 
make peace on honourable terms, AVC have honestly and un 
selfishly acted up to our word. 

It is well known, too, that the conditions on which peace is 
made would have been different if England had not been firm, 


and everybody is of course glad even here, that peace should not 
have brought dishonour to France. 

Lord Clarendon, therefore, ventures to hope, that the lan 
guage in England with respect to the peace will not be apolo 
getic or dissatisfied. It would be unwise and undignified, and 
would invite criticism, if such language were held before the 
conditions are publicly known. 

To this letter the Queen immediately replied as follows : 

Windsor Castle, 31st March, 1856. 

The Queen thanks Lord Clarendon much for his two 
letters of Saturday and yesterday ; and we congratulate him 
on the success of his efforts in obtaining the peace, for to 
him alone it is due, and also to him alone is due the dignified 
position the Queen s beloved country holds, thanks to a 
straightforward, steady, and unselfish policy throughout. 5 . . . 

The Queen finds Lord Palmerston very well pleased with 
the peace, though he struggled as long as he could for better 

This most gratifying letter elicited the following reply : 

Lord Clarendon presents his humble duty to Your Majesty, 
and humbly begs to express his thanks for the letter he received 
this morning, in which Your Majesty is pleased to approve of his 
conduct in the negotiations. Lord Clarendon has endeavoured 
to do his duty and uphold the honour and dignity of England, 
and, if Your Majesty is satisfied, Lord Clarendon cares absolutely 
nothing for the attacks which will no doubt be made upon his 
proceedings. Lord Clarendon is aware of much abuse here of 
himself for punctiliousness and indifference about peace, or the 
feelings of the French nation ; but, as the Congress admitted 

3 This opinion Her Majesty repeated, in writing next day to the King of 
the Belgians. Her words were, ; That so good a peace has been obtained, and 
that this country stands in the high position she now does, by having made 
peace, and not yielding to unworthy and dishonourable terms, is all owing to 
Lord Clarendon, whose difficulties were immense, and who cannot be too highly 


that nothing could be carried which the English Plenipoten 
tiaries opposed, the manifestation of ill-will was in fact an 
acknowledgment of our power. No more striking event 
occurred than the allusion to Lord Clarendon s speech by the 
Emperor, when, addressing himself to the whole Congress, His 
Majesty said, that the signature of the peace that day was the 
fulfilment of what Lord Clarendon had announced in the name 
of his Government in the House of Lords ; and turning to Lord 
Cowley and Lord Clarendon he added, that peace had been 
rendered possible by the spirit of conciliation they had exhibited. 
It was clearly understood by the Congress (as Lord Clarendon 
afterwards learned, though he could not doubt it), that in the 
opinion of the Emperor the question of peace or war had rested 
with England. The Emperor s remark has produced a great effect. 
It was uncalled for but generous on the part of the Emperor, 
and Lord Clarendon trusts that it will be satisfactory to Your 
Majesty. . . . 

If it would not be too much trouble, Lord Clarendon would 
venture to ask Your Majesty to write him a few lines that he 
might read to the Emperor, expressing Your